Earlier this summer I booked my family of five an Airbnb in Downeast Maine to explore more of the state we love, and areas we have never been to. It was going to be the most amazing getaway in a campy little cottage, with no frills or internet, perched on a rocky cliff above a private beach, in a very unpopulated part of the world. I was also thinking this would be such a great memory-making and family bonding road trip. Let’s go Team Taylor!
Last week we took our highly anticipated trip north, (even though it’s called “Downeast”) and it was all those things. It was memorable, serene, beautiful and I am already looking back on it with such fondness. However I am not going to sugarcoat it. Our family seems to be in a phase where we’ve got some major head butting, conflicting personalities and opinions, and hands that incessantly find a way to poke and annoy each other. I’m not naming names here 😉
We packed up Kevin’s pickup truck with paddleboards, fishing and snorkeling gear, bikes, helmets, a little bit of luggage, a cooler full of food— and then the five of us squeezed into the cab of the truck and started on our scenic adventure. Yay!
Seriously within the first ten minutes there was hitting, name calling, and majorly rising stress levels. Ugh! “Why can’t we just be nice to each other, is that too much to ask?!” And this is how it went for pretty much the first 24 hours. My fantasy of a dreamy family get away was becoming just that— a complete fantasy.
I put myself to bed early the first night, feeling like a complete failure as a parent. “What are we doing wrong?” I asked Kevin. He half jokingly responded with two words: “military school.” 😒
We made a pact to try and start fresh the next morning, which basically just means taking deep breath‘s and trying way harder to be super and kind to one another. This worked a little bit. In between the moments of insanity I was able to see some of the most beautiful moments too. I loved waking up early and walking down to this little beach with my coffee, and looking for sea glass with Sully. Also, climbing on the paddleboards with Lincoln and Kevin and learning the actual meaning of the word “baitball”.* Hearing the sounds of whales in the distance as they sprayed ocean water from their spouts. Tasting the salty ocean brine on the freshest seafood you could ask for. Watching the boys take turns jumping off a giant rocks into the cold water and laughing as they came to the surface.
At the time these were just little things, but now looking back, less than a week later, these were actually the big things. The memories that I want to hold on to. The ones that I hope my kids will look back on and realize they had it pretty darn good.
I’ve let go of the mom guilt i was feeling by the way. This is such a ridiculously crazy time in our lives. I truly hope it’s something we will look back on and say “Remember the summer of 2020? Remember how it was so crazy with the coronavirus, and quarantining, and face masks?” I was talking to a girlfriend after we got back and she helped me realize that life is totally nuts right now, and it’s making us all go a little bit insane. My kids fight and I have way less patience than I would like. It’s a tough phase right now. BUT, every thing we do doesn’t have to be a fabulous memory. Am I right? As I told my kiddos, we might not always like each other, but we love each other. And at the end of the day we’re still making some pretty awesome memories together. I’ll take it.
First stop, Camden Maine. What an adorable town. Masks on!
Next stop, Lincolnsville for dinner at the lobster pound.
Here we go! The bridge over Penobscot Bay!
We made it to Brookesville, our home for the next two days.
We really got wild at night! Puzzle nerds.
Touring around the islands of Penobscot Bay; Deer Island and Little Dear Island.
My kind of snorkeling- without getting wet!
Nolan's first oyster- The Schooner Restaurant, Damariscotta.
We did it. Mama's tired but feeling content.
Cheers to more memory making for everyone! And double cheers for letting go of mom guilt.
*A baitball, occurs when small fish swarm in a tightly packed spherical formation about a common centre. It is a last-ditch defensive measure adopted by small schooling fish when they are threatened by predators. We saw lots of these and they are unbelievable.