Suffering From Post Vacation Stress Disorder

View in Italy

For an entire month my family and I lived, traveled and ate our way through Italy.  We picked herbs from our garden, painted watercolors during the hot afternoons, swam in the pristine lake, ate endless amounts of fresh pasta and gelato, and drove all over the country in a quest to open up our daughters’ eyes and minds as well as their taste buds.  You’d think after an entire month away we would be ready to come home, but you’d be wrong.

However, they call it vacation for a reason right?  It’s a break, a time away, and in the end real life beckons – and there is no more real life than life in New York City.  With barely enough time to recover from jetlag both my daughters went off to day camp, worried about which swim group they’d be in and anxious about coming to camp mid-session.  My husband went off to a new job, literally went off on the train to Washington DC to have his own orientation and new “real life.”  And me?  Well, after writing everyday for a month straight I took a week’s hiatus to get my home back in order.  Plus, after writing in hotel rooms, basil scented gardens and in the sunroom of an Italian villa, I was not ready to go back to windowless back room at Cosi.

At first the alone time was actually nice.  After being together as a family for 33 straight days and nights we all needed a break.  But then the other stuff seeped in.  We had sublet our apartment while we were gone and now I had to put everything back together again, and find all of the things we swore we’d stowed away in places where we’d never forget.  Where were the checkbooks?  The metrocards?  The girls’ diaries?  All of those camp clothes I’d put away so they’d be easy to get to upon our return?  We put Old Mother Hubbard to shame with our bare cupboards and still, after going to the grocery store 3 times in one week I will reach for something – ketchup maybe? – and discover it’s not there because I forgot to put that on the list.  Then came the emails about the new school year, the pending political decisions being made, gossip and a months worth of catalogs and snail mail piled up on the table too!   (What I need on the shopping list is some wine!)

In the end of course it’s worth it.  Nothing can compare to going away – far away – for a length of time.  We were beyond lucky to have had the opportunity and I don’t know when we’ll have it again.  But for once it would be nice if the vacation could spill over into our life at home.  Maybe I’ll buy a pot of basil for our windowsill so at least I can close my eyes and inhale and pretend that outside my window is a field of sunflowers, instead of a pigeon family and the glow of my neighbor’s big screen TV.

This post has been nationally syndicated by McClatchy/Tribune.  Look for it on the web!

Don’t Quit Your Day Job, Tooth Fairy

-4 Seven years ago when I found out I was having twins – at my second sonogram appointment, not my first one mind you – my initial thought was absolute terror.  I couldn’t imagine one baby growing inside me let alone two.

Suddenly what was once doable seemed overwhelming – would a double stroller fit in our building’s small elevator?  Where would we put two cribs?  16 bottles a day?  20 diapers a day?  We had so many  questions and there were plenty of well meaning people and books doling out the advice about how to handle the realities of two babies invading at once.  And, we got through it.  We handled all of that stuff, weeded out what was seemingly “necessary” for one, but ridiculous for two.  Along the way we somehow managed the double nursery school tuition and the insane kindergarten application process.  Now twindom seems old hat and as our friends have had more kids its all evened out.  Or so we thought.

My daughters are identical twins and so their teeth became loose at the same time.  But, one of them had to be first, so when she bit into an apple at school and out popped that bottom tooth she was not just thrilled she was triumphant.  The Tooth Fairy would come to our home for the first time and it was all for her!  My husband and I were so excited to play tooth fairy that we both crept into her room that night.  We were giddy.  This was a milestone, a serious rite of passage for her and for us and we went large – a webkinz and a ten dollar bill.  She woke up in the morning and put an Oscar winner to shame with her sheer joy, surprise and excitement.  So strong was her belief in the Tooth Fairy that when her grandparents offered her some money the next day as a bonus for the lost tooth she wouldn’t take it.  It had to come from the Tooth Fairy or it didn’t count.  When her sister lost her tooth a week later, in the airport, it was the same thing all over again – bliss, anticipation and utter happiness.

Then, the next one fell out.  Then the next one.  Then the next one… You get the idea.  No one warns you in all of those twin books that you will suddenly be on Tooth Fairy duty at least once a month.  So, ten teeth into this job, I guess it was inevitable that one night the Tooth Fairy would forget.  That’s right.  One night the Tooth Fairy just didn’t show up.  Now, in the Tooth Fairy’s defense, my daughter lost her tooth the night before a big family vacation.  There was a lot of packing and organizing and printing of boarding passes going on.  But, still.  In the morning my daughters threw open our bedroom door and with a look of pure horror in their wide eyes screamed, “The Tooth Fairy didn’t come last night!!!”

My husband and I bumbled around for an explanation, expressed our disbelief that this could be true and he sprang out of bed to his wallet while I kept them in our room discussing the impossibility of this event.  Then my husband called out from the bedroom – “Here it is!  On the floor!”  The girls came running and sure enough there was a dollar under the Tooth Fairy pillow instead of in the little tooth pocket.  The girls danced around imagining all sorts of funny things that may have happened to the Tooth Fairy that made her drop the money in a hurry rather than place it neatly where it belonged.

Now, we probably should have come clean about the tooth fairy then and there.  But, it never even occurred to us.  Instead we were awed by the degree to which our daughters wanted to believe.  I’d like to say we learned our lesson.  But, no.   A month later – and tooth number 14 in as many months – we forgot again.  We pulled off the same stunt and my daughters once again shook their heads at how silly and careless the Tooth Fairy had become.

So, the Tooth Fairy is on probation right now.  My daughters have two more loose teeth each right now.  That’ll make 18 lost teeth in a little more than a year.  I don’t know how much longer my daughters will choose to believe, but I do know that every time the Tooth Fairy falls asleep on the job she is one step closer to the unemployment line.  And I don’t think the Tooth Fairy is ready to hang up her wings just yet.

This is an original nycmomsblog post.

This post was nationally syndicated by McClatchy/Tribune

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