Yes, we had a lot of fun on the beach.
Yes, it was exciting for the kids to have ride on a plane they are old enough to remember.
Yes, the scenery had us hyperventilating at one turn and then forgetting to breathe on the next...
But, folks, this trip was really about the people.
Years ago, Mr. Loggerhead's great uncle carried God's Word to Puerto Rico. After years of mission work, his health took a turn for the worse and he was unable to continue his traveling. He married the lovely Millin and they settled down to a happy, quiet life in this beautiful place. They had one daughter, her name is Joyce.
Mr. Loggerhead calls her "cousin" but she calls me "sister".
I am honored.
She laughs and says she was never given any siblings by birth so now she gets to choose as many as she wants.
Her three children call me, "Ti-Ti Raimie" (which is to say, "Auntie).
These kids are my heart in Puerto Rico.
It is pretty easy to think of things that are very different about Puerto Rico compared to the prairie where we live.
The abundance of tropical foliage, year-round.
A beach around every corner.
The rolling "R's" and the nasal "N's" of the native language (Spanish).
But like our trip, this post isn't about that.
Like on Sunday, I loved the feeling of same-ness that came across strongly so many times during our adventure. And yet... maybe it was the differences of certain things that accented the unchanged ones.
Here, we were still ourselves. Our roles come naturally and we fall into them without thought. Mr. Loggerhead found some things to fix and made himself useful in the kitchen.
And I was still, "Mommy" and the band-aids and itch-reliever spray continued as my side-kicks, vacation or no.
I was still your very own Prairie Hen... I even managed to keep you somewhat posted...
Three posts in 8 days! Wow! Haven't done that in a while, have I?
And in comes the difference...
I felt it in the way we spent our time.
Things were slower.
We were more relaxed.
I only had one or two passing thoughts about the things that waited at home on my 'after-we're-home' list. Mr. Loggerhead didn't have to work, he only puttered-about just for the enjoyment of it.
He had time to actually play!
We lost the pressured feelings of life and it's business.
We had time to pay attention to who we are.
As a couple.
As a family.
And, guess, what?
I renewed my subscription to this "us" that we are because I realized, again, that I like our life.
It's good to be secure in the knowledge that we like "us"... wherever we are.
Watching our children was the same here in many ways.
The same go, go, go.
The same running after them.
The same quirks.
The same climber.
The same blue eyes.
This baby turned two last week. My eyes were red and teary. Mr. Loggerhead brought cupcakes. I survived.
The same into-everything.
The same curious nature.
The same brotherly copy-cats.
The same artist.
The same swallowing abilities of electronics.
-- But the difference, again was in the pace.
I had time to watch them closer.
Well, maybe not closer... as I am with them all the time, even at home.
Maybe I was just watching them differently.
Busy mentally noting whether my mothering worries about certain things were actually issues or just harmless phases.
I saw more clearly the people my children are, the solid characters they are becoming.
The escape from the rat-race seemed to dilute their desire to fight with one another. At the same time the signs of who they are deep down somehow were made more visible as the the sludge of stress, anxiety and a full schedule were washed away.
My mothering vision of my precious babies was cleared and renewed. Like someone pushed the 'refresh' key and it all came together like it was meant to.
They played well with their cousins, though Joycie and Gala are 3 years older than Bee and Arthur is 3 older than T-boy as well.
Thank you, J-G-A, for being so sweet to your Prairie cousins. They will never forget the way you shared with them and made them welcome. They still talk about missing you every day. I think Pip even misses his extra "mommies"!
Their flexibility with the changing plans of vacation, different food, occasional language barriers and complete abandonment of our usual routine impressed me.
As their mother, I was proud of them.
They just might turn out after all!
This man never takes vacation.
Mr. Loggerhead's father has been a hard worker all his life and as we all know there is rarely much rest for a workin' man.
We happily (and miraculously) dragged him along on this trip.
This was his first time to Puerto Rico.
First time on a commercial aircraft, actually.
I loved watching him enjoy it.
Here, his son actually tried to get him into a pair of sandals.
The picture is blury because I was in such a hurry not to miss this sight.
I have never seen this man outside his boots.
He settled on tennis shoes. That was far-out enough for him.
But back to my same-ness theme...
He is still a logger.
I just about choked on my mango when I heard him fire up this thing.
I ran outside and there he was, having a go at some brush that was pushing over Auntie Millin's back fence.
I have no idea how he managed to get his hands on a chainsaw...
But he sure-fire did.
Auntie Millin was overjoyed.
I was speechless with laughter...
I had enough voice left to report to my mother in law.
We were supposed to be looking out for him and making sure he took it easy, after all.
I think Mr. Loggerhead's talking to her here...
"You let him do what?!"
See, some things never change.
Some things like Walmart.
Yes, they have them in Puerto Rico.
I was there four times in 10 days.
I'm pretty sure that means I'm good for the rest of my life.
It's just like here but no sweaters, for some reason.
Oh, and boys [in Walmart] don't change either.
"Don't make me come over there!" Joyce and I bellow in unison.
Hands on hips, toes tapping, eyebrows raised.
We are mothers [and wives].
We are everywhere.
Same Old Me in NE