“There it is, mom! The boat!” Levi said. “Oh man, this is the best day ever.” A man passing by smiled down at my excited four-year-old.
“It is small.” I laughed and hugged his head.
“Well yea, the Disney one is much bigger. Do you still like it?”
Lou, my husband, grabbed our baby girl out of my hands. She squealed in delight to be on Daddy. He took my hand and helped me and our son onto the boat, too. So sweet.
We went up the stairs only to find all the plastic, white chairs were occupied by happy older couples and families. We didn’t mind. I didn’t want to hear the tour anyway. We trudged back downstairs to a bench we saw on the way up, but it too was occupied. Again, that was ok. It’s easier to stand and hold a one-year-old anyway.
Ann reached for me. I could resist and stole her back from Lou, her green tutu tickling my skin.
With nowhere to sit we decided to get some snacks. The barman was nice enough to offer Lou a taste of the brews they had. He chose the beer, Fargo which I thought was fitting for North Dakota. I chose chips.
Levi pointed to a candy, “I want that!”
It was our day off. A mini vacation.
“Sure, why not.” I told him.
“What is it?” Levi asked, raising on eyebrow and pursing his lips.
“Yea, I want the Airpop. “
Man, I love him.
We went out to the front of the boat and stood at the edge like Jack and Rose, but surrounded by kids.
The breeze blew in my face, letting the stress of motherhood transform into joy once more. The air smelled of moss and water, but it was the sound that calmed me most. The rushing water reminded me of a white noise people pay to hear, but this was organic. Real.
We let the river water and moving scenery hypnotize us as it passed by. We crunched on our chemical snacks and Lou sipped his bitter beer.
We let the sun warm our faces.
We chatted and discovered.
The trip only lasted an hour but that was enough for Levi.
“Is it done yet?”
“Yep, were almost there.”
The horn honked, the loud noise piercing the sky.
“Whohoo!” Levi laughed, jumping up and down.
Ann looked at me. Her eyes started watering, nose turned red, and lip turned up. A wail shattered the white noise once more.
The tourist crowd made a collective sigh for the sweet, sad baby who was scared of the noise.
I calmed her with kisses. The horned blared again.
Levi laughed. Ann cried.
It was a beautiful day.
What’s your favorite destination for a mini family vacation?