Earlier in the day, I would have written this:
As soon as Ben arrived (night of the third day), this road trip took a sharp turn for the worse. It's not his fault, but it's happened. There's a kind of power-focus that kicks in when traveling solo with kids on a trip of one's invention because the only option, really, is to be fun-survivor-road-warrior or why bother; the leader alone sets the tone. So it was. We pounded up 95 to New York and saw family, through Connecticut and Rhode Island, to Cape Cod with the best oysters and friends (and a great white shark attack that closed the beach where Silas swam exactly four hours after we left!), and on to Boston.
Then the partner arrives. Suddenly the two year old's whining and clinging to my leg is unbearable because she's done that for there days already and standing right next to me is a strong and refreshed other strapping parent who could hold her. Alone, yes my eyes felt heavy while driving narrow tree-lined highways, so I chewed gum, crunched ice and made phone calls, but now that the partner is here and takes the wheel, I sit as passenger vaguely irritated and feeling my exhaustion.
So that happened. Then, simultaneously, the kids went batty at bedtime, breaking the we-are-a-team-of-adventurers tone into much snapping and threatening; Maeve woke on the wrong side of the bed and never righted, throwing herself on the pavement all over Boston in protest of life and breath; tiredness caught up with all of us and shot daggers through our tones; we ran a toll because I messed up the EZ Pass (all I've been doing this trip is properly paying tolls up the arm of New England); and we got a parking ticket.
And then we left Boston, where perhaps all the kids learned is that the Boston Tea Party involved violence and wasting tea (Eden thinks this is hilarious); Bunker Hill was actually the hill one over from the battle; Mary Goose, buried in Boston in 1690, may have written the Mother Goose fairy tales, or not; and during his time at BU, Ben had a skunk living under his front steps and dropped an organic chemistry class in that building -- gesturing as we drove -- "you can drop classes? what even does that mean??" -- interest in college began.
But now it is 9:15PM. I have been exiled from my room at the Fairfield Inn with strict instructions to sit in the 80's carpeted lobby and have a cup of tea until the kids are asleep (the wildness continues because somewhere in this place there's a pool!)
The afternoon mellowed: Maeve fell asleep as soon as we pulled out of the city, and Silas and Eden, chums these days, listened to books on tape (do we still call them that? -- on CD, not the same ring). We wound through New Hampshire and Vermont, skirting traffic -- one of Ben's talents -- and even ended up having a little front seat conversation. We ended our drive in Burlington eating flat bread and wandering among street performers until it was nearly dark.
If I were in my dark room right now shushing people, this whole page would be italics. But instead I'm in the business center (an indent in the lobby wall that has a computer) drinking Cozy Chammomile, which wouldn't be possible if Ben weren't here. Good thing he came.