Marta Maria

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Location: Viljandi, Estonia

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Vacation with Marta

Today was like the first day of school. Even with only five hours of sleep under my belt, as I picked out my clothes and prepared to walk to 12 blocks to the train station (to sleep for 50 minutes while it rolled me from Rockaway Beach to Manhattan) I felt like my summer was over and now I was rolling up my sleeves for a rainy autumn.

It's sort of sad in a way. That was my vacation. There it goes. But I didn't go anywhere. I stayed right here. Fortunately not just in Queens. But in New York state. Yes. It was a New York vacation.

Central to my vacation was my daughter Marta. We hang out often but not enough. I am very spent on evenings and on weekends. But these days I got - everyday - she was at the center of my life. In that way we got to bond. I got to clean every poop for a whole week. I got to plan her days and pick her clothes.

That week was spent at my parents house. It is out on Long Island and there are enough trees and beaches to keep a kid content. However, I soon ran out of options after taking her to the library two days in a row. I relied heavily on the TV, but even I got tired of watching her watching Finding Nemo for the 47th time.

So I used my head. One day - when it wasn't raining - we went to a nearby nature preserve. This was fun. When I was in high school I studied a pond in this preserve for my Environmental Science course. So I was very familiar with the area. Marta liked it too. We even had an emergency. Marta had to poop and we didn't know what to do. I decided that the trip home was too far. So we just ducked behind a bush and Marta did her business. I was so proud. We were real adventurers!

We also found our way to the nearby bay where Marta saw ducks and even a person in a passing sailboat who waved hello. It must have felt very cool for her to stand on that rock.

Addicted, I also took Marta to the beach the next day for another walk in a protected natural area. She was less interested this time. Instead of doing the hike to the end of the beach (it's on a peninsula) she just wanted to pick up rocks and get her feet wet. I obliged her.

Marta and I also went to the movies together. This was Marta's first movie in the movie theater. We saw a film called Barnyard. It was your pretty straightforward good guys versus bad guys film with talking animals. I think it was more for five year old boys than two year old girls. Still, Marta made it through the whole film. I felt our trust for one another grow.

Eventually Epp came back and we went back to our home in Queens. The final night was the Block Party. This consisted of me drinking many beers, and some wine, and Marta riding around in circles on a scooter. She loved it. She also did the obstacle course - which was a huge undertaking for such a small person. But she did it all - stuf that would give a six year old some pause. I was proud of her. I had a really good vacation.