I don’t consider myself a hugely superstitious person (although, who am I kidding? We wrecked our car just before leaving Missoula and I thought it was a “bad omen” for the entire trip), but four years into parenting, I’m seasoned enough to know that there are three things you NEVER, EVER do:
- Feed your kids chocolate (or soda!) within 5 hours of bedtime
- Leave the house without spare diapers (even on a 5 minute errand)
- MENTION THAT YOUR KIDS ARE BEHAVING SO WELL!!!
Nick and I took a much-needed date night last week, when over a plate of delicious pork shoulder stuffed into a banana leaf (which was surprisingly difficult to pry open, because apparently that type of cuisine is best enjoyed with a side of hard work), Nick noticed aloud that the kids had been amazingly easy and cooperative on this trip. The words had scarcely poured forth from his mouth before we both looked at each other in wide-eyed fear. We quickly moved the conversation on to other things, hoping that perhaps it hadn’t reverberated far enough to f*ck everything up.
Without fail, the following day we were palming our foreheads and rueing the moment we’d even entertained the thought that the kids were sweet, delightful cherubs. It’s possible that Nick’s comment didn’t do anything and that, rather, the kids just reached a point where vacation wasn’t a never-ending party anymore. I know Nick and I reached that point. After all, we went full Griswold on New Mexico…
We visited Tent Rocks National Monument, where we carried the kids like limp potato sacks up jagged rocks and through tight caverns (because SAND IN THEIR SHOES, OMG). We visited the Albuquerque Bio-Park Aquarium and Zoo, where Nick and I marveled at sharks and sting rays while the kids ransacked the gift shop and whined for more snacks. We visited the Los Alamos nature center, aquatic center and the Valles Caldera (where, interestingly, Joey announced that “sand feels so fun in his shoes,” prompting an eye roll from me that nearly knocked my eyeballs loose from their sockets). We played in the quaint, picturesque town of Jemez Springs against a backdrop of red clay cliff faces while Daddy caught his first New Mexico fish on a fly line. We hiked through what the kids called “bear infested woods” (which were really a giant dustbowl of barren bushes) lining the shores of the Rio Grande Del Norte.
By late last week, I could feel my head beginning to spin off.
So, we negotiated a more routine schedule – a few adventure days each week, with a couple of easy park days thrown in for sanity’s sake. There is still so much to see and do here, and the beauty of this high desert is truly breathtaking, but I think we’re all ready to move on. Joey asked me the other night when we’re going to our “next house,” making me wonder if this trip is giving him a skewed idea of how life works… but I can feel Nick and myself echoing the same sentiments. We journeyed here, we learned our way around, we experienced some of what New Mexico has to offer, now we’re ready for new sights and different challenges.
Maybe it’s because we feel that we’ve conquered New Mexico (by which, of course, I mean we know where to find specialty goat cheese and gluten-free beer). Maybe it’s because we don’t know anyone here, and it feels a bit lonely at times. Or, maybe we just get bored easily. Sometimes, I wonder if this whole trip wasn’t borne out of boredom – a desperate desire to challenge ourselves differently and do something fresh. But then, I’m not sure that’s such a bad thing. Maybe boredom is your mind’s way of telling you there are other challenges to conquer, new worlds to see.
New places to find specialty goat cheese.