I don’t know why you say, Goodbye, I say, Hello, hello, hello
I don’t know why you say, Goodbye, I say, Hello”
And you know I have kept track of all those birth songs. What astounds me is that I’ve been a mama long enough to have seen the changes in technology. Pretty sure we brought Curb Your Enthusiasm DVDs to her birth, and we definitely brought the labor mix on a series of compact discs. I don’t remember it exactly but I remember hand-making the three or four birth mixes I brought with me to Des’ birth. And then with Rider, Cassidy created electronic playlists of some sort. With Sawyer, it was Spotify, and that’s about the extent of my knowledge. I’m not even sure what songs they were all almost born to, except that I know “Althea” came on as the song before Sawyer’s birth song (“I Feel Fine” by The Beatles). And that would have been cruel to be his birth song, since that was his girl name. Alas, it was not to be. What was to be is this family of six and our adventuresome ways. And I promised you I’d write about Bethel, Maine, which we traveled to last weekend for Scarlet’s big 13th birthday. And it was a bit of my early birthday present too.
I DEFINITELY felt ancient when that photo was taken, and I’m DEFINITELY ancient now and was just a baby face then. That said, one day I’ll look back on the first photo of this post (taken last weekend) and think it silly that I feel ancient right now. Tis the circle of life and feeling ancient. ANYWAY, we went to Bethel, Maine. It was our first trip as a family of six, and if you remember I was VERY fresh off the grief of losing my Uncle Jamie. And I still am, but it’s strange the way it hardens and softens, softens and hardens, and forms a bit of a protective crust layer that can also easily be scraped off with barely a moment’s notice. And I’m still very much in that, and very much in a strange state about having a 13-year-old and also being 13 years past saying hello to my only baby girl. Sometimes Des is sheepish about leading all these boys and he says that men are terrible (I think he watches MSNBC too much) but I tell him every time that he’s a marvel, and Rider and Sawyer are lucky to follow in his steps. All four kids have to be the good right now.
And so, we set off on our journey to Maine. Packing a minivan for six people is challenging, but can be done. You just have to get creative and find some hacks. We’re going on a plane trip in a week or so; ask me about that soon! There will be another road trip in August for my uncle’s celebration of life ceremony, but not with all six. Plus, a wedding in August in NJ. We had a good time on the highway, spotting moose signs, punch buggies, and more. Everyone started getting squirrely about two hours in so we found the first exit with restaurant signs. It was Dartmouth College! I have history there with my maternal grandparents and also, my dear Uncle Jamie. So I nursed the baby and stood in a beautiful park, while Cassidy took the older kids to find decent snacks and a bathroom. They came back with a box full of brigadeiros (a Brazilian dessert).
Des was in the back of the van, super jazzed about seeing the White Mountains along our route, and he was not disappointed. We were treated to majestic Mt. Washington views, and then we found so many of the places we saw along the way that first time, 18 years ago. Cassidy even spotted where we had seen a bear that first time! We rolled into the town, not long after that, finding the place we stayed at six years ago, and even the mineral and gem museum we were partly visiting Bethel to see. We found our airbnb, which was modest and nice, because we had tacked on an extra night, and our other rental wouldn’t be available to us until the next day. It was a one bedroom apartment, so we set up the big travel crib for Rider and just the top of the bassinet (moses basket) for Sawyer in the living room and the four of us shared the bedroom. It had bunk beds and a queen bed and we were plenty comfortable. We explored the indoors and outdoors, as one does in a new place! Scarlet found a Rosy Maple Moth and some fun stickers.
Then it was exploring time! We passed the old bed & breakfast from our magical love story and went down a road to find the first restaurant we ate at. Stay tuned for that story, because it’s a good one, but that restaurant no longer exists. That’s ok, though, because we found a little gem store, which all of the kids loved, and then went exploring onto the back roads with the state park. That’s where we had first seen a moose, and then again in 2015. We had never seen a bull moose there, but definitely several cows and babies. It was still early and we didn’t expect to see any moose, since they’re more active at dawn or dusk, but we did have fun exploring little ATV trails and off roads. We even saw a deer leg. Just a leg! I took a photo of it, which I WON’T share, but it was a really odd thing. Where was the rest of the body?! This wasn’t a fresh kill, or a rotted leg. It was just.. lying there. In the middle of nowhere. At that point, we hightailed out of there.
We went up and down a few more trails and I saw something with dark fur up and run into the woods. I can’t prove it was a moose! Maybe it was a bear. Whatever it was, we startled it and it never came back out. So we decided to really call it a day. And we were hungry. We found outdoor seating at Sunday River Brewing Company, and enjoyed our first restaurant meal with wait service since before COVID. And it was Rider’s first restaurant experience. So he caught on and started saying, “YUM” whenever we placed him in a highchair. He gets it! The good stuff.
Now if you’ll remember from my love story, back in 2004, we were greeted with fireworks from The Bethel Inn lawn the second we drove into town for the first time. MAGIC. This was a main reason we booked an extra night on our current trip. The kids hadn’t seen fireworks in years. We skipped the recent ones in Northampton and Easthampton just because of having the babies. So that was a big draw to see the Saturday night fireworks. Who wants to go on a long road trip for just two nights?! Plus it was July 2nd, which is the anniversary of both my father AND my grandfather passing. My uncle had passed away two days previously. July 1st is our anniversary of meeting in NYC, and July 3rd or 4th is our anniversary of being in Bethel for the first time. So it felt big. We quickly ate our good meal, paid the check, and found a most magical parking spot. We actually found it because Scarlet saw a punch buggy and punched one of us and then we all looked and realized it was a parking lot. We grabbed a great spot and it filled up within seconds. We went onto the big lawn and set up blankets and noise-canceling headphones for the babies. Cassidy took a bunch of the photos of the anticipation. It was an INCREDIBLE show.
After the show, we packed up our belongings, pushed the littles in strollers in the dark, found our car, made our way back to our rental, and went to bed in anticipation of getting up before sunrise the next morning. Do you know what time sunrise is in Maine in July? It’s 5am. That means getting up at 4:30am, at the LATEST! We had moose on the brain, though. Would we actually get up that early? Would we see moose? You’ll have to wait and see! Stay tuned..
Say, Goodbye, goodbye, bye, bye?