Saturday, November 14, 2009

Happy birthday, Grandma!!! (and did I mention that my family is wonderful?!)

While my mother's birthday isn't until tomorrow, I mentioned that we did Friday night into Saturday in Atlantic City. It was our family vacation spot, and we had a lot of great memories there. Everywhere we went, we'd point to something and tell a story.

For example, the pushcarts (not rickshaws, because those are held differently, but the same concept where a guy is conveying you on foot and you sit) reminded us of the time when one of my sisters hurt her foot or was sore or something, and my brother put her on his back, and we walked home. I forgot about the part where my mom gave him money to take her back to the house on the jitney (basically the bus, but little-tiny), and he proposed that he'd pocket the money and carry her instead. A win-win situation.

Fishing on the boats was a fun thing that we did, just my father and brother and I, although we stopped doing that the year after my brother got seasick. It was his birthday too. It wasn't because he got seasick that we stopped going; it just never worked out for us to do it again.

The three of us would also ride bikes on the boardwalk.

We saw cheesy casino shows when we went as a family back then; we got a glimpse of that in the hotel lobby this afternoon. Meatball was entranced.

We didn't spend an inordinate amount of money on our family vacations (not that you can take 6 people anywhere and not spend a bunch of money). We did fun things, generally pretty simple things, most of which we could still do during this short visit. My sister and I walked on the sand this morning after visiting Lucy the Elephant. We LOVE the beach. We got some salt water taffy and some Swedish Fish for The Boy.

My mother had a wonderful time. None of us brought any drama with us. We all had fun, and she really relaxed, which was crucial after her giving her time to us, once again, to help with The Boy in the hospital. Problem is, with The Boy and Meatball, we require two people on "duty" all the time, and Musical Daddy has to go to work. Filling in the blanks with my father-in-law and, generally, other people that we barely know, can get us through, but with my mother, and then her friend, we were really able to share the responsibilities. Particularly since my father-in-law has a nasty cold that turned into a nasty infection, and while he is getting better, he really needs his time to recover. But anyhow, Grandma and "aunt" J to the rescue once again.

This afternoon my siblings and I went to the slots. My sisters and I had never gambled in the casino before and planned to spend about $20 each, just to see what we'd get. My sister Jessica and my brother didn't do all that well. I played $20 and ended up with $15. My sister Wendy, who played $20 and ended up with about $40, kicked me $5 to say that I broke even. Very sweet. I decided to play the $5 and while I won a bit more, I ended up losing that too. Still not a bad job.

But proof that we were really taught to care for each other: my sister Carla did about as well as Wendy, coming out with more than $20 but nothing impressive, so she decided to play a little more. Wouldn't you know that on her last bet of the extra money, she won $250. She went to cash out and immediately handed me $100.

She also handed $20 each to our other sisters and my brother. No one told her to, no one asked her to, and she could have easily just kept it for herself and no one would have said boo about it. Instead, she decided that she would kick me some money to make us feel better.

To clarify, though, it's not that money itself made me happy. It's the fact that my sister gave it to me without even thinking twice.

Wendy was in charge of pictures. She does an amazing job, whenever she is at an event, to make sure that comprehensive photographs are taken and that everyone appears in enough of them.

My brother was a good sport. He has a reputation for being a stick-in-the-mud, but he always goes along with our shenanigans. Same with my father.

Today we sat down to lunch, and Meatball started to wake up and get upset. My father, without even being asked, takes him for a short walk in the stroller and returned with him cozy and sleeping, allowing us to have lunch without being concerned about Meatball's issues.

Meatball was great for the entire trip. A little short on sleep, but he was having so much fun. He loves to go go go.

The Boy would have liked a lot of it. We'd point out things that he would notice or enjoy. Musical Daddy would have also had a great time. We missed them.

I want to reiterate how grateful I am to Musical Daddy for letting me go. It sounds almost unfair, for me, my mother, and Meatball to have packed up and went on that trip. My mother needed this, though. And she needed me to be there. Not to mention, Meatball needed a bunch of people to fuss over him. Doesn't happen as often as you might think. But anyhow, lest anyone say that I am selfish and flaky for going on this trip right after The Boy had gotten out of the hospital, particularly since he was unable to go, I had complete confidence in my husband's ability to care for The Boy, and he did not disappoint. Furthermore, The Boy took good care of Musical Daddy, making sure that he took naps and got caught up on his rest.

Tomorrow, we are going to a good friend's wedding. We have two extremely capable babysitters in Grandma and her friend. Some other possible plans over the next few days...we shall see.

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