In 2006, I went to Door County in a burgundy van with a man I thought I'd spend the rest of my life with. We spent the majority of the weekend hanging out with a mutual friend, which was fun, but left me feeling as though we'd missed an opportunity for some much-needed (in my mind, anyway) Alone Time. In 2007, we repeated the trip, for which I jumped through hoops to clear my schedule of three jobs' worth of work, only to have the trip cut short by two nights due to his insistence upon returning to his own responsibilities at work, which had been taken care of (or so I'd thought) before we'd even left town.
In 2009, I went to Door County in a black BMW with a man who wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. We stayed in one of the nicest hotels in the county - two bedrooms, two floors, a fireplace, a private jacuzzi. I spent our one full day there soaking up sunshine by myself while he swore at the computer for six hours about the internet connection not being fast enough and the fax machine in the office not being functional. Because he'd brought work with him. Which is the one thing most people (including me) come to Door County to avoid.
We managed to have a good time between the four-lettered words, but I'd decided before we'd even gotten to Sturgeon Bay that This Was Not Going to Work.
In 2010, I went to Door County in a burgundy van with my best friend. We brought my daughter. My little Bug enjoyed a weekend vacation with her mother for the first time in her life. She ate candy and ice cream, filled up on hot chocolate before finishing her breakfast, played on three different playgrounds, fed goats and lambs, and came home with a smile on her face and a new kitten, which is now keeping her up late, waking her with foot scratches and playful pats on the nose. She crawls into my bed, hoping to avoid his loving midnight crazies.
Our Solomon passed away over a year ago, and although we miss him, I know he's happy that we eventually adopted a little brother. Jackson Bailey. As with so many human relationships I'm surrounded by, I only wish they'd known each other in life. But our new baby is handsome, a green-eyed, grey-chested black baby wrapped in curious wonder, fresh with the farm air he was raised in, baptized and dried in a two-tone, glittering, 1952-meets-1983 kitchen by the hands of simplicity, humor, and love.
"Part of me feels like I want to know more, and part of me feels like I already know everything." - Maddie Larsh, age 9, 9/27/2010.