Sometimes You Have To Read Between the Lines

This whole road trip odyssey started with a family reunion.

Loony’s family gets together every summer for a week or so at his sister’s lake house in South Carolina. This year, however, his brother’s daughter is getting married in Boston so the reunion is taking place in Hampton, NH instead.

Nice place

Nice place

Since we were going to be on the east coast, we decided to go to Acadia and why not pick up grandma on the way and, oops, we left four days too early so why don’t we visit Niagara Falls, and since we are driving a billion miles, what’s 1000 more so let’s go to Cape Cod now we are finally here!

But first we stopped in Portland, Maine to see Rich’s retrospective at the Museum of Art. They boys were thrilled to have such a close connection.

We still had a considerable drive after the show and Grandma got it in her head that she just had to have some ice cream.


Hell no.

The boys were hyper enough and I couldn’t wait to get out of the fucking car and STAY OUT for more than a few days.

IMG_4355Did I mention that there will be teenagers there?


The reinforcements!

The boys were shy for about two seconds and then warmed up.

The boys were shy for about two seconds and then warmed up.

The handsome young man is Perry, my brother-in-law’s step son. His mother is Asian and named Vivian. That’s not confusing at all.

Perry is going to Georgetown and perhaps the most wonderful young man I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. I met him when he was eleven and he is so wonderful with the boys.

Better her than me.

Better her than me.

Alicia is going to UNC Chapel Hill and is my sister-in-law’s daughter.

Larissa and Ellie

Larissa and Ellie

Larissa, my sister-in-law’s youngest daughter is going to Chapel Hill as well. She reminds me the most of myself, or rather who I wish I had been at her age. She is 100% her own person, fearless in her own path and not at all scared to do her own thing. I want to be her when I grow up.

Ellie is my brother-in-law’s daughter who just graduated from Bryn Mawr and is working in public health and considering applying for med school. She talks to me. I love that!

And there are more. Maggie (who is getting married) is doing her fellowship at Harvard and then moving on to a tenure track position at Princeton (you heard me right) and Becky just got her M.D.

All this generation is so freaking smart. I fill up with anxiety that my boys won’t measure up, which will be my fault because I am not tiger mother-y enough.

It’s not fair to saddle the boys with my insecurities, but I’m being real here. I am pulsating with anxiety.

I take so much pleasure in my early morning walks. Even more if Larissa joins me but I don’t know if it will happen this year. I get up really early.

This morning I was pleased to be up at 6am because it was pouring rain by 7:30. But prior to that it was foggy and atmospheric, the perfect backdrop for a long, heartfelt talk with my dad on the phone (I love you, Dad).

I also took pictures.

I’ve known all these cousins since they were little kids and did my share of chasing them around and hanging out at the kids’ table before I had any of my own, mostly because I really loved watching them grow and also because I couldn’t deal with the political cut throat happening at the grown-up table.

I still “play” with them, even though they are now all in college. Now we do tests of strength, such as squatting kids.

I won. Tomorrow I'm going to school them with an ab challenge. They may be young but I'm a pole dancer.

I won with 48. Tomorrow I’m going to school them with an ab challenge. They may be young but I’m a pole dancer.

And speaking of being a pole dancer …


I’m a pole dancer not a valet parker!

The boys have been hounding me to go to the beach. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining, they want to go.

And oh did it rain.

Happily, there is a beach nearby.

It is challenging to be away from home for so long. I feel very lost and isolated even though I am surrounded by those that I love and I know love me. Often times I feel just moments away from a complete nervous breakdown.


I think it is the stress of having two wild young boys in a house full of adults, I can’t help but feel self-conscious. I judge myself harshly and it takes a toll on me.

I am grateful for my blog and my camera, it reminds me of who I really am and what I love to do, not that I fancy myself a photographer, but I sure do love taking photos.

Me taking pictures

Me taking pictures this morning

It connects me to the world when I feel isolated.

Today was particularly rough.

It was raining cats and dogs and the boys were wild. They wanted to go to the beach so badly and were running around the house on fire until it happened. Testiclese was like a broken record. I felt like I was going to snap.

A Boulder friend recommended I got to Odiorne Point State Park (thanks Kelly!) She said it has a science center that might be good indoor distraction.

That place totally saved their my life.

Then the storm broke and it turned into the most glorious day. We were able to enjoy the surrounding beaches and tide pools. We will probably go back with the cousins tomorrow.

These are all very nice pictures and it looks like we’ve been having an idyllic time.

I could let everyone believe that it’s rosy like the photos, but I assure you that it has been rough.

Travel is demanding. Kids are demanding. Relationships under the pressure of extreme togetherness are demanding.

Today I managed to part the mother-fucking clouds and produce a gorgeous day for crying out loud! But when Testiclese started whining that I didn’t pack swimsuits (I really didn’t think it was going to clear) I just snapped.


I fucking lost it.



Fortunately the boys are forgiving, for now. We had a beautiful day and all is forgotten.

We ate lunch in Portsmouth (which I really enjoyed because I could just pick a place without having to make sure that everyone else wanted to eat there) and we had ice cream. In a chocolate covered cone. With sprinkles.

We got home and I napped while Perry and Alicia wrestled the boys for two hours.

I’m going to choose to believe Heather when she said, “Don’t worry about yelling. All moms yell. Kids tune it out. If they didn’t they’d actually do something we asked them to do every now and then.”

I hope so.

I miss you, Heather.

8 thoughts on “Sometimes You Have To Read Between the Lines

  1. You know something Viv? As I was reading I was thinking how lucky your boys are, they’ve been to Jamaica, Canada, Maine, and all over the Eastern Seaboard. Places, me, a person 3 decades older has never seen. I think one of our hardest lessons in life is we were not put on this Earth to be Entertainment directors for our childrens lives. The world outside is vast with so much to see, experience, and learn, all it takes is curiosity. (as for the grilling in the rain… that’s the only way to do it in Florida, it rains every afternoon) 😛

  2. Love all the photos! Sorry the travel has been hard on everyone, but it sounds like you are doing the best you can. And your friend is right – every parent yells now and then. I know mine did. It was just part of childhood. (Sometimes even a goal of childhood!)

    • Alicia has always had a very close relationship with the boys, especially Casey. She has a lovely, quiet way with them. She just goes along with whatever adventure they are on. I adore her.

  3. Hello gorgeous! You are so damn funny. I am such a yell-ER… I prefer to call it expressive…Fiery. I imagine my internal landscape if I were a peaceful human? Not too exciting…You make me laugh & laugh & I imagine you make your boys laugh as well. You are totally loveable. I imagine your 3 boys are just crazy about you.

  4. Pingback: Chocolate or Vanilla? There is No Wrong Answer | Vivienne's Process of Elimination

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