I’d like to think I’m a well-intentioned person, at least on most days when I’ve had my three cups of coffee (minimum requirement), slept at least three hours (these do not have to be consecutive TBW), and can remember the names and birth dates of all three of my children.

But there I was drawing a terrific blank as the nice woman on the phone asked me again for the baby’s DOB. She might as well have requested my locker combination from junior year of high school. Nothing.

10/22/2019. There it was, scratched haphazardly on a Red Rooster receipt that someone waved in front of my face.

“Thanks,” I mouthed, feeling like an idiot. My older daughter rolled her eyes, taking a dinner roll and her altogether apparent annoyance for continued cohabitation with the family up to her bedroom.

“I need a vacation,” she sighed; but I barely heard her or cared that the WiFi on my phone had again disconnected or that the nice woman I was talking to was suddenly gone along with any hope I had of making that appointment.

I stared out the window, having my own “Mele Kalikimaka” moment, quickly exchanging National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation‘s Nicolette Scorsese for Milo Ventimiglia.

“We’re all allowed our little indulgences.”

The words escaped as quickly my credit card later that evening when I offhandedly mentioned to my dear, sweet husband that I’d charged the equivalent of two month’s worth of Peapod on a four-day Rhode Island rental.

“I’m taking the kids with me,” I said, as if this weren’t a given and more of a bargaining chip “and my parents…so it won’t be a vacation, really. More like a punishment,” I offered so there of course would be no confusion on the whole matter of Milo and me sipping mojitos, making sweet sun on the beaches of Bristol Bay.

His silence spoke the volume of a Rolling Hills party mid-July as he undoubtedly had his own National Lampoon moment (re-swap Nicollette covered in arugula).

“I was trying to do something nice…for the kids.” I was pleading now, asking for forgiveness later that was lost on him. He had to go, there was seeding to do (and a wife to avoid) and the farm waited for no one, except maybe Nicolette Scorsese circa 1989.

“We’ll always have Paris,” I said to no one in particular.

It wasn’t going to be a vacation, not a real one, not with anything longer than an hour-and-a-half drive with a one-and-a-half-year-old whose birthday I could hardly remember without the aid of a Red Rooster receipt (and enough coffee) on a good day. Is it ever really enough? Let’s be honest. I would take an injectable or a patch at this point. Truly, I’m one forgotten birthdate away from eating those espresso beans (preferably whole and mojito flavored), especially if the WiFi keeps mistaking itself for dial-up.

But nonetheless, I persevere, barely making out my mother’s somewhat frantic call through what feels like the English Channel later that afternoon. It’s always a little like Mad Libs, filling in the blanks, hoping you don’t come up with anything too dark or obscene. “Beach…house…cliff…is there…baby…fall…very scary…cancel…money…ok?” I go back and read the fine print, hoping if Milo isn’t included that at the very least, those mojitos are.

Later I message the owner of the Vrbo. Is there some sort of retaining wall around the water? We have a very (and I emphasize very) active toddler who we’re afraid might fall into the water. Is this a safe house/property for children?”

He messages back quickly, allaying my fears, explaining what can clearly be ascertained now from the description, and then asks where I’m from.

“Connecticut,” I tell him.

“Oh, he writes; just, “Oh.” As in, “Oh, well, that explains it.”

This will not be a vacation. It never is. The car ride will be long. The rest will be short and we’ll be lucky to get a day or two of good weather with no one rolling their eyes or whining or falling off a retaining wall. I will take some mildly compelling photographs and post them on social media to convince you that all that expenditure and fighting with my husband was really worth it. These will likely be hairline fractures in time when the children were not performing one of the aforementioned activities.

If this were 1989, I would send you a postcard of one of those lovely bayside beaches, glossy and sunset with a caption like, “Wish you were here,” only you were smart and stayed home, like my husband and his arugula.

Next winter/spring, this vicious cycle of escape-and-mojito-longing will likely repeat itself. Hopefully, by then my WiFi will be working and my credit card won’t be carrying something commensurate with four years at Yale, and Milo… well what can I say? I read somewhere that he doesn’t drink. Clearly a deal-breaker. My dreams of being his Mojito Mama suddenly dashed, I’m resigned to lie in the well-intentioned, overpriced and unquestionably unkempt bed I’ve made for myself. Perhaps more appropriate, my postcard should have read, “Such is life,” or “This is Us,” or better still:  “We’ll always have the window.”

Columnist Lesley Kirschner grew up quiet, in the woods, and devoid of siblings so her hobbies quickly became reading, writing, and talking to inanimate objects. She also spent a considerable amount of time doing voice-overs for her dolls and watching too much daytime television–channel 3, sometimes channel 8, if the weather was good and the antenna wasn’t acting up. She was in attendance at school, graduated from a very much not notable college not worth mentioning, and was transplanted to Wilton with her husband, Ambler Farm‘s Farmer Jonathan and their (baby makes) three children almost a decade ago. Although she never quite found her calling in life, other than perhaps the doll voice-overs, which in hindsight were eerily convincing, she’s happy to try her hand at writing and is thankful for the support and community she found on Facebook’s Buy Nothing Wilton. Lesley realizes while this is all very exciting, she’s not winning a Pulitzer so she’ll wrap it up and be quiet. She’s had a lot of practice. 

One reply on “OPINION: Wish You Were Here… Milo. Me Too.”

  1. “Truly, I’m one forgotten birthdate away from eating those espresso beans (preferably whole and mojito flavored), especially if the WiFi keeps mistaking itself for dial-up.”……. this describes my life for the past 1.5 years……. yeah……. that and the impromptu seeding in the garden my husband does (when it’s night time and dark outside!) to avoid arguing with me!! If I were as smart as you, I would go ahead and book that expensive non-vacation vacation. It’s better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission, right? But I just gotta have this 4th cup of coffee……..

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