Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Cabin

We are days from making our annual Memorial Day weekend trip up to the mountains, where my husband, two kids, one dog, and I will spend the weekend sharing a one-room cabin with my sister, her husband, their new baby, and our mother. Sleeping is always an issue up there (or has become one, since we had kids). My girls have a hard time settling down in the same room as everyone else, and combined with all of those strange forest sounds and sensations, and maybe even the high altitude, they tend to wake up every hour or so. It’s like having a newborn again. Only this time, we’ll actually have a newborn in the mix as well.

It’s not enough to keep me from going, though. I’ve been spending summers at our family cabin since I was born, and my mother has summered up there since she was born. The cabin was built by my mother’s father, a man who never met any of his great-grandchildren (much less factored them into the design of the A-frame, with an open loft that sleeps five, and only one bathroom). My sister and I have already talked about setting up screens, hanging blankets, doing what little we can to separate the three children from each other. My two girls, whenever put in the same room to sleep, tend to talk rather than settle down. It’s cute, as it reminds me of being a teenager, when my sister and I insisted on sharing a room so we could stay up each night talking in bed. Only we were much older, and still managed to get enough sleep. My two girls might have a great time chattering into the night, but come morning, they forget all of that sisterly love and resort to endless power struggles punctuated by tantrums.

I’m packing ear plugs, white noise fans, and I’ve been talking to the girls about the sleeping arrangements, prepping them for the experience. I’m also planning to hike them all over the Sierras (weather permitting) so they’ll be too exhausted to chatter at night. I’ll admit, it’s not as relaxing a vacation as it used to be pre-kids. But I also remember being a few years older than they are now, and counting the days until we got to open the cabin for the summer. I remember days of exploring, swimming in icy streams, resting in the hammock out back, and making s’mores over a bonfire at night. I know it won’t be long before these three girls are busy little pre-teens, off entertaining themselves while I lounge out back with a good book. And when we will all be sleeping soundly at night.

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