Childhood summers are magical. Although my mom is approaching senility (just kidding mom), she still fondly recalls her summers growing up in Rockport with her family. Years later she would bring my sister and I to spend some time there with our cousins, aunt and uncle and various friends she had made over her years vacationing there as a child.
Fortunately I think our kids will have that same magic and fond memories as they grow up. Jenn’s parent’s house (named The Bumpy Road House by Nolin last year) not to be confused with their house down the street from us (cleverly called The Smooth Road house), is like a summer wonderland for our kids. Set off a long (bumpy) road with few houses on 5 acres, it provides unlimited space for the kids to run barefoot and free. We don’t have to constantly hover over them because there is plenty of room to roam and not get into trouble.
It also comes complete with Pap-Pap’s pride & joy…a huge blueberry patch and large vegetable garden. Not only does this provide endless hours of entertainment for Nolin & Grace, but it also provides a seemingly unlimited supply of food. There is also the downstairs basement (and let’s face it to any kid growing up in Florida or in Virginia, a basement is the coolest thing ever) filled with 30+ year old toys which are way better than iPads.
Nolin had been counting down the sleeps until he would again arrive at his happy summer place. Grace was excited too, but after a long trip she was tired and ready for bed. She immediately started asking for “Home” (thinking it was only a few minutes away). Nolin was not about to have his trip cut short, so he looked at Grace and said You can go home, but I am staying here. I guess that settles it.
Last year, Nolin & Pap-Pap found a nest of spiders, this year it was a nest of baby birds. Nolin & Grace had the opportunity to watch over the mama bird and 3 babies until the babies grew up and left the nest (thank God leaving the nest is not that fast with children). One morning as Nolin peered through the window at the birds, he looked back at us and said I am never leaving the bumpy road house. It has been almost four weeks now, and the summer is quickly coming to an end, and I am actually afraid of how difficult it may be to get him to leave.
I have now been on my own and away from the bumpy road house for just under three weeks. It is eerily quiet and not a lot of fun. I think parents often say, I would love a few days without kids and without stress. I have found that the stress is still there, but now the kids are missing which ironically makes the stress less fun to deal with.
During my week at the magical bumpy road house, we had the opportunity to go to Bilgers Rocks, a huge jungle gym playground for 4-year old boys and 68 year old Pap-Paps, and an imagined death trap for 37 year-old dads. We also went to Cook Forrest. This was also a huge jungle gym playground for 4-year old boys 18 month old girls, 68-year-old Pap-Paps, parents in their 30’s and a little less of a perceived accident zone.
Although danger happens when you least expect it.
When we first got to Cook Forrest, it started to rain, so we made our way to visit Jenn’s aunt and uncle who don’t live too far away and wait out the storm. Nolin and Grace had a great time exploring their house including the secret loft. As we were heading outside we noticed a little bird sitting down and staring at us, not moving just watching us with a strange look. Right behind him was the cat who had already had a few swats at the bird. Dead man walking.
This wasn’t going to be good. Nolin began questioning what was going on…ummm, well…there is a cycle of life…just then the bird flew off right into Jenn & Grace’s face and then hit the door as she screamed. This wasn’t going good. Finally we were able to separate the two and the bird was able to escape the cycle of life…at least in front of us.
The rain cleared and we headed back to our hike. we made it to the waterfalls and then were heading to the fire tower. Nolin picked up a stick and shortly after I heard a loud scream. I turn around to see Pap Paps eyes wide and Nolin on the ground. He had fallen with the stick and got a pretty big splinter. As I was trying to remove the splinter he pulled his hand and the piece sticking out broke off. This caused louder blood curdling screams that were echoing through the woods.
Finally as I held him, Jenn was able to use her teeth to pull out the splinter. Not before Nolin created a terrific scene from a horror movie…No, don’t use your teeth…please don’t use your teeth. After that, we decided it may be best to get back into the car and call it a day…thankfully, because right as we got in the car the sky opened up and there was a huge thunderstorm.
Being stuck on a mountain top during that storm could have really been the makings of a horror movie.