Monday, August 11, 2008

Key West

Let the traditions begin! I think I must have been 5 or 6 the first time we went snorkeling at John Pennecamp State Park It is one of those much beloved, dreamy memories that defines the beginning of my Key West memories. I remember being in the water with my dad and Jeanna, I remember seeing underwater life for the first time, I remember holding onto daddy, and I remember colors, vibrant saturated colors. We used to go down to Key West if not every year, then every few years as a family. I have a lifetime of memories; snorkeling, sailing, walking, shopping, riding bikes, rollerblading, Duval St, Mallory Square, Ft Zach, Smathers Beach... And now a whole new generation is here, at the beginning of their traditions.

Augustus and Magdalena, sitting on Mallory Square, watching the sun set.

We arrived late on Saturday evening, Magdalena asking like every 10 minutes, are we in Key West yet? I would say "soon baby, soon!" Then, as we really started getting closer, I would say "Big Pine Key, 45 minutes!" Or "Boca Chica, only one more to go!" Then "Stock Island, we're almost there!" Finally "Key West, Magdalena, we're here!" and she was so excited! Mom and I were talking and I turned around and she was OUT! Just like that. She worked so so hard, stayed up until 10:50pm, and was asleep at 11. Exactly when Augustus woke up, don't ya know.

an octopus right there, in our little time-share beach!

I knew going down that this would be the year of the pool. We fell into an easy rhythm of waking up, having breakfast, going to the pool and beach, then coming up for lunch. Augustus would go down for a nap early, Magdalena would go back down to the pool with a cousin - Marlene or Cecilia, an auntie - Aunt Su-su or great Aunt Nancy, an uncle - Tito Chuchi, or Abuela. One day there was a huge torrential rain shower and Magdalena and Tito Chuchi were down there swimming in the rain because, well, they were already wet, right? Then after Augustus woke up he and Magdalena would have a snack, then back to the pool and beach until dinner. Then we'd either do sunset somewhere or it was, can you guess? Back down to the pool for an evening swim.

the Storch/Cousineau/Salazar/Robinson/Barnas family, et al

Magdalena, Miranda and Augustus at Fort Zachary Taylor beach

This was also the year of hanging out with Paula, my dearest friend from my Key West adventures when I lived down there, and her daughter Miranda. Can you tell from the photo that Magdalena and Augustus absolutely adore Miranda? Miranda is a big girl of eight, and my two could not get enough of her.

Abuela and Augustus in his sailor hat

My mom bought Augustus this sailor hat, and it is so insanely cute, and even better, he loves wearing it! He wore it as soon as he got it, and would ask for it regularly if it was not already on his head.

Aunt Nancy won the big jackpot at pool bingo and wanted to splurge with the money so she generously subsidized a sunset sail for us all, with Paula and Miranda joining us.

The sunset sail/snorkel trip is a traditional Key West event. Sometimes they are part of the same trip - a late afternoon sail out to the reef, then sailing back as the sun sets, or it's two trips - a morning reef trip and a late afternoon sail that returns as the sun is setting. Either way it is always gorgeous, always wonderful, always magical. We've done private charters, catamarans, single hull sail boats, party boats, you name it, we've tried it, and they're always perfect. We've known Captain Pucci's, Captain Dave's, and of course, Captain Mo - Paula's husband.

Miranda, Augustus and Magdalena, sailing us to sea

This year was no different. We were on the Sebago Sunset party boat, and Magdalena and Augustus acted like old sea dogs, running around the boat as if they were on land. That, of course, is the beauty of catamarans - they are totally stable. When we went on the cruise to the Bahamas we did a glass bottom boat tour (never again, by the way) and we were in open sea going pretty fast in a small boat, getting rocked from side to side and Magdalena was not at all pleased. She basically declared her dislike of all things nautical, and that was that. Enter the Sebago, big, open, and stable and of course, Miranda, acting for all the world to see that being on the water was the place to be, doncha know.

Magdalena, Aunt Nancy, Augustus and Miranda

Paula was friends with Commander Dave and our three got to spend an inordinate amount of time at the helm, maybe just enough to wet their taste for a life at sea.

After his time at the helm, Augustus wanted to snuggle down and have nummies and go to sleep. I brought the pashmina in the event that my almost three year old son wanted to nurse in that very public place, so we sat at the front of the boat and got comfortable. He was soon asleep and I was able to just hold him, sleeping, in my arms. An elegant grandmama, who was with a group of folks I noticed noticing me, came over to talk to me after Augustus fell asleep. She leaned in close and said "Your children are gorgeous, really, they're so beautiful". She had the kindest expression on her face, one of benevolence and a quiet joy, and I can't help but think that she knew I was nursing that big ol boy of mine, and she was encouraging me. Maybe she was, maybe she wasn't, I like to think she was, like she and her group of friends were blessing us both with their kind looks and her sweet words.

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