Summer Rhythms and Surreal Vacations

Summer is already more than halfway elapsed. I don't mind; I like this season's woozy-warm and surreal rhythms, even if that means I really truly get nothing done because of the constant schedule disorientation. (Disorientation enhanced by my brand-new, first-ever pair of glasses and their progressive lenses. I AM OLD.)

And since my family is mostly happy, I'm mostly happy. We have new bird feeders luring a constant stream of zipping, chattering hummingbirds, funky grosbeaks, and cheeky bluejays into our yard. We get to have relaxed evening picnics at foggy local beaches. The new, formerly skittish kittens have settled in, and become appropriately indolent and trusting, even letting us rub their bellies with our feet. And that f***ing "Skinny Repeal" GOP health bill failed, goddess bless. These are all things I like.

We jump-started our summer with a surreally indulgent week-long family beach vacation in Nayarit. It was made possible by the generosity of my in-laws, who were celebrating their 50th anniversary. They are the most Baucis and Philemon-y couple I know, I am glad they have been able to cherish each other this long, and I get dewy-eyed just thinking about how much they mean to each other. It was wonderful to spend so much time with them, and Seymour's brother and his family too.

For various reasons, a vacation like this hadn't really been realistic until now, so -- aside from the constant jaw-dropping from staying in such a remarkable place -- there was much casual happiness and contentedness, mixed in with the kind of joy that only comes from having an extended family in sync with each other.

Not everything, every time was perfect for Leo. Being in a new magical place is still being in a new place, and change isn't always easy. Also, being in an unfamiliar magical place, and doing so for a really long time, can also be hard, which I get—when Seymour lived in Manhattan, I rarely stayed with him for longer than five days at a time, as I quickly became overwhelmed by such a concentrated dose of Greatest City in the World. But mostly, Leo had a fantastic time, made even easier for him by Seymour's parents bringing along Leo's favorite personal assistant. This meant Leo had a lot of independence, didn't get dragged along to events that were not his style, and spent almost all of his time doing exactly what he wanted (which mostly means swimming, in proximity one of us adults, while occasionally deigning to beckon for french fries).

I don't ever want to not be grateful for this vacation, so am leaving this record as a reminder to myself:

Our room had its own mini-pool (!).
[image: Leo, Iz, and J., at dusk, lounging in a small pool.]
The food was all my and Leo's favorites. Leo enjoyed the
fluffy  pancakes (and the French fries available poolside).
I enjoyed the poached poblano eggs. 

[image: Leo sitting at an outdoor restaurant table eating
pancakes, my poblano eggs in foreground.]

Circular poolside lounge chair. We needs one, Precious
[image: Leo lounging on a circular wicker lounge chair.]

Accessibility and sensory-friendly options were available at the hotel beach
(Leo was *into* the rocking swing-beds)
[image: Beach push wheelchair next to suspended circular wicker beach bed]

There was much sleeping in. (For some.)
[image: Iz crashed out in a hotel bed with white sheets.]

Yet death was everywhere.
[image: Dead junebugs. I think.]

We had cousin time with all the cousins! This is really rare.
[image: My kids and Seymour swimming in the ocean with their cousins.]

Bubble wrap seaweed: a perfect fidget, gifted by Neptune.
[image: frond of crinkly brown seaweed with pea-like pods] 
Not all of us slept in. Many of us were like, "Dude, the pool 
is open 24/7. There is no reason we can't swim at 6 AM."
[image: Leo in his swim gear, on our patio, at dawn.]

The pool was great. Even more fun: the birds that treated the morning's 
surfeit of dead floating bugs as a floating, skimmable breakfast buffet.
[image: Leo in a palm tree-lined infinity pool next to the ocean]

The pool was also too big for a standard panorama. 
[image: panorama of an infinity pool at a hotel.]

We really, really liked relaxing and reading in the pods
[image: Leo playing with a nubby orange football while I
read next to him, inside a suspended wicker bed pod.]
I liked the beachfront food service almost as much as Leo did.
[image: A grackle (black bird) trying to steal some of the chips and salsa
from the trays inside a beachside cabana.]

OK, OK; I sometimes ogled the beach babes.
[image: Seymour lounging in a beachside cabana, eating mango with tajin]

He is one with the waves and the waves are with him. 
[image: Leo sitting in mellow shorebreak.]

Floating around (and around and around) the "river."
[image: Leo lying in a yellow innertube,
in a "floating river" pool]

We took a boat the Marietas Islands, where we snorkeled with octopuses!
[image: selfie of me on a boat, near a rocky island shore.]

Tilapia really are real fish, as J. discovered when she got to feed them.
[image: J. wearing a life jacket, feeding fish through a catamaran hatch.]
J. also got over her fear of jumping off high platforms
[image: J. jumping from a metal platform into the ocean]

And Iz got over her fear of doing flips
[image: Iz doing a flip from a boat deck into the water.]
The Marietas Islands are known for their blue-footed boobies. 
[image: Jo wearing a white t-shirt with a blue-footed booby bird,
and reading, "I (heart) Boobies".]

The suspended king-sized beach beds were our favorite.
[image: Leo sitting on a suspended bed at a beach, drinking water.]
The beach beds worked as beds, even.
[image: Leo taking a siesta on a beach bed.]

Seaweed makes a fine tiara.
[image: Me at the beach with seaweed on my head.]
Seymour and I went on a date, even.
[image: Selfie of me and my handsome husband,
dressed and groomed like adults.]

Nayarit is known for its lobster. For good reason.
[image: Platter of bifurcated grilled lobsters.]

Another nearby beach, Sayulita, was even more fun for playing in waves.
[image: Iz and Leo in bathing suits, standing in front of the water.]
And then, sniff, we had to leave.
So cool to see the earth from above.
[image: Leo with his nose pressed to an airplane window.]
Airports with trains between terminals are preferred
[image: Leo hanging on a pole inside an airport train.]
The trip back home turned out to be quite the slog, due to delays upon connecting flight delays. Leo was a good sport amidst all the shifting game plans and uncertainty and crowded spaces with crying children (they hurt his ears, and heart). I was also impressed by how he handled himself through the two extremely long customs and immigration lines at Denver, and then by how quickly and kindly the Denver TSA staff ushered him right through the security line upon request, when it turned out that a third long noisy crowded line was more than his spirit could handle.

Snuggling near the end of a looooong travel day.
[image: Me, looking like hell due to travel fatigue,
while Leo sleeps on my shoulder.]
I made Leo a book featuring the photos above, and more, so he can remember this lovely trip, too. It still seems like a dream, to me.


  1. Dear Shannon and Craig,

    have a wonderful 22nd anniversary. I really appreciated you sharing a local moment which came out of the holiday.


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