Photo: As you’ll recall, last year they couldn’t stand the sand… this year, they’re alls about it! GRRR! Maybe next year we’ll go to a real beach…

 

I’m very surprised and pleased to say that we’ve received quite a few playdate and outing invitations since school ended. It’s nice to feel wanted and a part of a community. It sucks when you have to say no because of runny noses or extended house-guests, which is what I had to do last week, unfortunately. But last night, I got an email from Ursa Major’s “best friend” (‘s mom) inviting us to go to one of the local swimming holes for a playdate. More on that in a second. This invitation (which, of course, I accepted) presented three immediate crises:

1) Where are the swimsuits?

2) Will the swimsuits fit the boys?

3) Will I fit into my swimsuits????

Because, look. I’m not the skinniest girl in the world. I’m not the fattest, either, but I’m not the trim little somebody I used to be. I used to participate in swimteam and martial arts when I was younger and had so much fun with it… and then college came around and I got busy. And stressed. Which brought on stress eating and… well…. you know… that pretty little swimmer’s body disappeared.

Not the point.

The point is, I have some swimsuits that are flattering for my shape and tuck stuff in and I put them on and I feel presentable. Not sexy. Just presentable. Stuff is tucked into various places and smoothed out in a way so as I don’t look appalling to the eye.

So I look in various closets for the swimwear and cannot find them. I frantically ask the husband if he knows where they are. He immediately goes to the attic, finds the box clearly marked “swimsuits” and puts them in the masterbedroom.

Crisis number one averted.

I go through the box and find the suits that the boys wore last year. They are pretty cute outfits with little UV protective tops as well as the shorts. The ones for Major were 3t (he wears 5 now) and the ones for Minor were 18 months (he wears 2t now). I’m crossing my fingers as I fly down the stairs to see if these things are gonna fit. Please, sweet Jesus, let these things fit!

The little shorties for both boys have draw strings which I untie. I slip Major in his old shorts and… YES!!! BOOOYAH!! GOOOOAAAALLLLLL!!!!! He’s looking at me like I’m crazy and I just don’t freaking care. Shirt? HELL YEAH THAT FITS TOO!!! BOOM, BABY! I mean, it’s snug, but it FITS! Will it get me through the season??? Probably not. Let’s pray on that. Minor? Yup, same thing. Snug but fits. Fits a little less snug than big brother’s. That means I’m gonna get 3 years out of those 3ts probably, because Minor will probably be able to fit into them next year. That’s called value, people!

Crisis number two: averted.

So then there was me. And I was like, well… I just ate, so that’s a terrible time to put on a swimsuit… I’ll just… uh… put that off till later.

But when I woke up this morning, I knew I had to do it. Just in case I needed to get in to save toddlers or something. You know? So I took out my little Lands End tankini with the “swim-mini” (Translation: swim top that covers up my big fat tummy and swim bottom that covers up my big huge butt and even larger thunder thighs) and put them on. And dared to look myself in the mirror to make sure it all was in there and

I was a little surprised.

Because it fit. Nicely.

No, seriously. I looked myself in the mirror and was like, “Oh shit. You look kinda good in that, girl!” I can’t tell if the mirror was just angled in a flattering way, or if I’m developing a more mature and secure body image as I approach 30, or if I’m actually losing a little bit of the extra weight.

I didn’t turn into a size 4 super model overnight by any means. But I guess the “chasing toddlers around a farmhouse” workout plan has been working because, well, I’m smaller than I was. Though I’m not small. I’m taking damn victory. I put up a facebook status and errythang!

And then I immediately covered it all up with a pretty sundress. So there!

We got in the car and drove not far from here to this tiny pond in the middle of the next town over. This place is very exclusive: $285 annual membership fee along with the 3 year waiting list to get in the first year. Yeah, seriously. And of course all of the other preschool moms are members. It’s not fancy by any means–no snack bar or club house or even a lot of space. It’s just a little sandy area next to a very pretty pond surrounded by wood. It was incredible. The water was cool, the sand was clean, the sky was clear, there was no humidity and the sun was warm but not hot.  It was a perfect New England Summer Day.

CameraZOOM-20140623094016767

I couldn’t help but wonder at the exclusivity of it. The price-point of membership is clearly to keep it a small local community for particular people rather than something that just anyone can partake in. It makes me frustrated, but then again, I wouldn’t even have heard of it if one of the other moms hadn’t told me about it. I’d forgotten that New England is full of little pockets. If you want access to certain parts of this world, you have to play in the right circles. I mean, we do for now, but there is no way I am ever going to keep up with these Joneses. I can’t anyway: membership is reserved only for people of the town where the pond is located. We’ll have to find our own special place to sun and sand eventually.

But today. This summer. For now… we can delight in the invitations we receive.

There is something else I’m thinking about today. Major’s little friend is going to no less than 3 different “camp” sessions this summer. They aren’t a lot: half-day things over week-long sessions, but it’s more than we’re doing. We can’t really afford any camps this year. I worry because it feels like Major will be a “summer behind” his peers. I know the kids aren’t doing anything particularly academic at those camps–they are playing sports and what not, and doing crafts–but it’s still a summer of exposure that he’s not getting. The Husband and I are going to have to get serious about what it is that we’d like the boys to do outside of school and begin saving/budgeting for that kind of stuff. It all just piles up, you know?

Anyway, it’s Monday. It’s summer. It’s the last full week of June, ya’ll! Let’s make some magic happen, yeah?

Oh, and did I tell you that I submitted a short story this week? That puts me at 2 for 5 this year, right? swish, ya’ll. Go be productive!

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7 thoughts on “Play In The Right Circles

  1. I’m glad you’ve had some good things going on! And yay for feeling good in a swimsuit — that must be a nice feeling. 🙂

    It sucks that there are so many opportunities which are expensive. You sound like you try so hard to give your boys the absolute best life they could have, and the world is cruel to rely on money etc for that kind of thing. But I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to make things awesome for them even if they’re not going to expensive camps etc like their friends.

    🙂

    • You’re so kind. And yeah! I am so pumped about the swimsuit! I won’t dread putting it on during the next invitation. I didn’t mention though that I’m NOT excited about all the freaking sand in the house. 😦

      The money thing is a problem. We just have to find stuff that works for us and I need to stop coveting what other people have. We can make our own way… I also have to remind myself that money doesn’t always get you the “in.” If you have resources and you don’t use them effectively, it’s like you have no resources at all. I need to be smarter what what we’re trying to do, plan more effectively, and then execute with clarity. This is all about me and has nothing to do with them…

      • Sand defies the laws of nature and can multiply infinitesimally when somewhere it shouldn’t be, in my experience.

        It sucks, but if anyone could do it, you could. I have faith in you! You’ve had so many obstacles to overcome and from what I can see – with no special insight into your lives or anything – you’re pretty damn competent at overcoming them. 🙂

  2. It’s crazy that doing things that should be essentially free or at least cheap (going to the lake) or affordable for everyone (summer activities) are so expensive where you live. I am truly sorry for your kids. It’s not fair.

    Why is your preschool taking such a long break? (Our school is closed for only three weeks in summer and between Christmas and New Year…) I thought it was super expensive. Do you also have to pay for the time when it is closed for summer?

    I wish you luck with your short stories. Maybe you can earn some money with them. That’d be cool!

    • Our school is on a traditional schedule that mirrors the public schools, so we go in in September and get out in June. It’s just how it is around here. We don’t have to pay for the summer months, only the months they are in school. The school DID offer a summer camp, but it was $210 a week for MORNING activities and we could only enroll Major. I thought that was a little ridiculous.

      As for the price of stuff–I guess that is what we get for moving out to the fancy suburbs, I have to be smarter about what our goals are and find places that give us the best value for the money we are willing to spend. If we’re disciplined with our approach and budgeting, we should be able to provide the boys with the best we can offer. I also have to remind myself that there will be clubs and activities at school that will be free (or with nominal participation fees). Just have to keep our eyes on the horizon, you know?

  3. Yay, you! I love your voice in this essay. You are fabulous, you know you’re fabulous, and your boys will reap more from that simple truth than any number of weeks at ridiculous camps for toddlers. Camp at this age equals babysitting. And although a few hours off might be amazing for Farmhouse Mommy, they’re not missing a thing. Not One Thing.

    • You are so kind, Britt, and I know that you’re right on so many levels. It’s totally babysitting outside, but it’s socialization, and I know that’s important. It’s annoying to think that we’ve come so far, yet there is always something ELSE out there. As I wrote in the other comments: I’ve got to be more disciplined about coveting what other people have. We have to be better about utilizing the resources that we DO have and then I can start supplementing if I feel like there are gaping holes.

      Yet still, I worry anyway…. Lord, the worry never ends…

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