Max and Miles who, to Me, Will Always be Secretly Named "Gus"

The blog about Max and his little brother, Miles. Stunningly cute boys and future leaders of the rebel forces.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

All Your Sand Castle Are Belong to Max

Back when summer was in full swing, we took our first, big family trip up to Pop-Pop and Gange's cabin in the northern woods of Wisconsin. Much like my thoughts leading into Fatherhood, none of my darkest fears came to fruition: the boys traveled well. On the way home, Max spent two hours with excavators who, voiced by him, quietly moved earth or solved crimes or something. Miles just did his Miles thing in the car seat.

It was a weekend of firsts: Max roasted his first marshmallow, took his first boat ride, saw his first frog in the wild and built his first sand castle. Then he knocked it down.

As we've noted, Max loves to knock stuff down. At first it was all for fun, but eventually, as I my castles became more and more elaborate, I tried a variety of reinforcing techniques. I knew we had reached an unhealthy stage when I began to imagine Max was an Orc trying to breech the walls of Helm's Deep.

For me, the weekend was a reality check on my childhood growing up at my grandmother's cabin. Here I was, worried about two nights in the modern luxury of Pop-Pop's Sub-Zero'd, Viking stove'd, super spacious lake home.

When I was a kid, at our peak, the grandchildren numbered eight between 10 years and a few months old and we were all together for a week or two! Everybody crammed into little rooms and small beds tucked into corners or porches with their babies and the one (ONE!) bathroom. We fed all these people joyously and gloriously from a tiny kitchen that, for some completely inexplicable reason was carpeted. Carpeted with brown and white SHAG CARPET. SHAG! It was a big ol' cabin built with one thing in mind: eating some breakfast, getting outside and being outside until you were so tired you didn't care where you slept. And you slept even though those screwy adults played raucous games of bridge until dawn. I do not know how my parents or my Aunts and Uncles did it. Except for the year my Uncle wouldn't let us watch "Sheriff Lobo" and we mounted a full protest, marching with signs and shouting slogans in the driveway out by the main road, I don't remember a whole lot of tension.

I suppose it had something to do with all those cases of Special Ex I'd help my grandma unload from the trunk of her Royale 88 in the days leading up to reunions.

Anyway, we had a helluva good time up at grandpa and grandma's cabin, even if their kitchen is missing the shag carpet.


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