When people ask me if I like being a twin I often reply, "yes, but of course its all I've ever known." I could write volumes about what my sister means to me as a friend and family member but sometimes the relationship is best expressed as having someone to embark with on a semi-preposterous adventure and be able to pull it off. This past Friday morning the two of us mothers and five children between us drove down to Ocean City, NJ. Our goal was to visit a place that brought us much amusement as children and to share it with our own. The place is largely untouched from when we were kids and so it succeeds in bringing the same kind of cheap yet meaningful thrills that it always has. The familiarity yields great reward. We don't have to think about where to go, or what to do because the prescription has always been the same.
The two of us share a spontaneity gene. In our minds, a carefully laid plan can bring on its own set of anxieties and so the thought of throwing everyone in a rental car for such a trip brings a variety of freedom and excitement that makes summer feel like a genuine adventure. We searched far and wide for a beach rental to house our crew for the night to no avail, so the only plausible alternative was to head back north and stay over in NYC, right? Right! After four and a half hours of fun in the sun, pizza and birch beer, porpoise sightings, salt water taffy, and the tilt-a-whirl we hop back in the car and head for the Lincoln tunnel. Two hours later we are pulling onto West 97th street, find free parking out front and step in to our lodgings for the night. The hotel was really more of a hostel and providentially and affordably perfect. All seven of us slept comfortably thanks to the friendliest staff in town and a few pallets on the ground. In the morning Lenny's Bagels welcomed us as did the Westside Market for everything a body could need for the last leg home.
I nearly forgot to tell you about the other companion on our journey. His name is Samuel West. We owe so much to dear Sam. He faithfully narrates Phillip Pullmans Grimm Tales for Young and Old for us and the trip really couldn't have been possible without this friend of ours. He's quite a flexible chap and I recommend bringing Mr. West with you for any trip planned in the near future.
We completed our mission safely and generally unscathed. I will not bore you with the finer details in an epilogue to this story. But to keep things a bit honest I will say that some sleep was lost and that the eldest of the youths has always struggled with this sort of deficit and began to show some signs of behavioral decline in the immediate hours and days after.
I will also say it was worth enduring and that I am thankful we took on this challenge.