I’m so grateful to be warm. To be basking in the sun (with sunblock, of course) beside the pool. Lovely.
It’s also lovely to be in America. As much as I like living in London, I guess I’m not at home there yet. Because this break– first in Marblehead for a week, and now in Florida– feels like relaxing at home. Tonight we’re watching Pirates of the Caribbean after having spent the day at Disney World– where, of course, we rode the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.
Funny thing is, I keep thinking of London… there’s a guy in Covent Garden who dresses up like Cap’n Jack Sparrow and poses for pictures with tourists. After watching the actor at Disney play Jack Sparrow today (and he did it well), I’m pretty convinced that the guy in Covent Garden is actually the real Johnny Depp. I mean, he does live in London. And I read in a local magazine that he has been known to surprise school kids in downtrodden parts of London with visits from the Captain. Maybe Depp gets bored and just likes to go out in character sometimes. And really, can you blame him? Once you’ve been Cap’n Jack, how do you go back to being just some famous actor?? Maybe you’d always have one foot in those big leather boots.
That’s kind of how I feel. One foot here, one foot there. But my boots aren’t nearly as cool.
Let me back up for just a moment and write a bit about our time in Marblehead last week. Surreal. Arriving in Logan Airport felt like coming home. The rental people gave us a Nissan Quest, the same car we drove when the Littles were babies. Driving home from the airport, we pulled through the Starbucks (DRIVE-THRU!) and got a round of frappucinos for practically free (well, almost nothing if you convert the dollars to GB pounds). On the Lynnway headed to Marblehead, I found my mind wandering to what time I would go pick up Gus from the kennel (sad reality check). Passing the turn to Humphrey Drive I had to remind myself we weren’t going to our house on Glendale. In short, it felt like we’d simply been on a long vacation, and for the first day or two I often forgot that we don’t live there anymore.
Chloe’s friend Lillie pulled up in front of our rental place at the same time we did, and the girls jumped out of their cars to give each other a monster hug. It made me cry, of course. From there, we all saw as many friends as we could. Claire and Quinn had playdate after playdate, and Chloe basically disappeared for the week (I’m expecting a room and board bill from Jaho cafe in Salem). Honestly, it got a little exhausting for this mama who likes her down time to write and think and, you know, do laundry and darn socks and stuff (or, um, check facebook and read blogs and stuff). My friend Laura planned a big “evening playdate” for the grownup girls. I protested at first, thinking my friends would say, “What? Her again? Didn’t we just throw a party because she was leaving?” But Laura was right as usual, and it took so much pressure off of organizationally-challenged-me to see all my main girls at one go! Thanks to Laura and her wonderful family– and to my friends who took time out on a Tuesday night. You really are the best… xoxo.
Will joined us from Colorado Thursday night, and the whole family was together again. I love my family. And I miss that big guy so much. We had a frenetic couple of days sort-of all together, a good bit of it spent with our good friends in Belmont. We were together Easter morning for a simple brunch, and the Easter bunny did come, though we didn’t do an egg hunt. Then off to the airport and a super-fancy (ha!) Easter lunch at Au Bon Pain before saying goodbye to Will, who was leaving from a different terminal. Mom that I am, I still get teary thinking about watching him walk away across Terminal A, backpack on his shoulders, his height allowing me to sight him all the way to the pedestrian walkway. Reminded me of all those years ago when I lamented watching him walk off across the soccer pitch in a first flight of independence (see Potato Chips and Nutella). One month. Just one month till he comes to London for a few weeks.
And then on to Orlando for the rest of us. We’ve been here so many times. Several years ago, when Claire was a baby, we thought about moving here. We spent three weeks in a condo just a mile or two from where we are staying this week. So it was almost home– and at any rate, it’s very familiar.
Beyond that, it is a magnet for all kinds of Americana. In our two days at theme parks this week, we saw pasty-white families (that’s no criticism– we’re pasty-white, too!) from Minnesota and Des Moines, Buffalo and the Bronx. We saw sun-soaked folks from across the South. Cowboy hats and baseball caps and, of course, those nerdy Goofy hats from Disney. Flip flops and trainers, sandals with socks, and even high heels. We’re all there, sharing elbow space, screaming together on the thrill rides, competing for tables at lunch, and annoying each other in the endlessly coiling lines. Of course, we also rubbed elbows with people from all over the world, including a great numbers of Brits– whose children are on half-term vacation for three weeks. Like us, many of them are putting in some of their vacation time at Hogwarts.
I’ll spare you any further details of our itinerary, but I’m happy to report that Claire has a new wand. She recently told me, “I really need a new wand. My old one is useless.” Apparently, incanting “accio” and waving a chopstick at items she wanted to move was not an effective way to pick up her bedroom. We’ll see if the new wand can do any better with the summoning charm!
Back to London on Sunday. Till then– you can find me by the pool!