After the holidays, after the decorations come down and are stored away, after the baking and cooking and clearing up after are all done, we go to the spa for a well-earned week of relaxing.
Traditionally our pals Bill and Nicole join us, and for the last several years, Jason and Kat, and Griffin add to the fun.
This is the first post-holiday week I haven’t felt it necessary to take work along. WOO!! I’m in a solid place with the WIP to take that week all the way off. No work, no book signing, no cooking!!! It’s like Christmas all over again.
Our little guy loves hotels. He always has, and I have a feeling he always will. BW and I arrive first, unpack, settle in. And here come Griffin and his parents. He has a mile-wide grin. It’s clear he remembers being here before, and it’s a place he likes a lot. We brought one of his smaller race tracks, and his LARGE collection of cars. And beloved Monster Trucks.
And the fun begins.
Our boy has been socially shy since the pandemic, but apparently school’s taken care of that. He’s happy to see everyone. The last time Nicole saw him he wasn’t at all interested in interacting. Not so now!
We play, incessantly, The Floor Is Lava. We eat, we drink, we play and we relax. The next day means a foundation meeting, but that’s the only serious business of the week.
In the morning, there’s bacon for breakfast, and after my workout, the boy wants me to join him in his breakfast and his hilarity over videos on his iPad. Currently Combo Panda is a fave. And there is hilarity.
Then the babysitter arrives. He was fine with her during the summer meeting, but didn’t do much talking or interacting with her. Again, notso this time, and she’s so happy she can also share hilarity and cars and tracks.
The meeting’s a long one, but productive and satisfying. And I have a facial booked for after.
I have a seat in the almost empty relaxation room with a glass of wine, and open my book. I had TTP send me Sarah Addison Allen’s newest: Other Birds. I truly adore her work. It’s magical.
So’s the facial, and I think I slept through half of it!
Griffin’s happy to see me, and that’s also satisfying. But after dinner, he latches onto Nicole. She’s very petite, our Nicole, and he decides she, like him, should fall or jump off the sofa onto the pile of pillows we’re put on the floor so Danger Guy doesn’t end up with a concussion. She wisely chooses to slide off.
Over and over again.His newest thing is saying: Oh gosh or Oh my goodness. A lot. Echoes of his pre-K teacher. It’s pretty damn adorable to hear a four year old say oh, my goodness, like a good pre-K teacher or a 50s housewife.
He climbs on Nicole’s back—and again this sort of physical interaction in pretty new for him post-Covid. Now she must slide off with him onboard. Many times.
I’m giving tons of credit to his ever-patient parents and his exceptional teacher for the amazing progress the boy’s made in a few months. He is such a happy boy, and so much more verbal and sociable.
His parents always give him a countdown to bedtime. When they inform him ten minutes until. He wags a finger. No, no, no—in this sweet little voice. No bedtime!! Nana finds this amusing, though when Jason asks what I’d have done if he’d wagged a finger at me that way at four, I was forced to admit, he’d have needed a splint.
But nana’s are allowed their amusement (and revenge).
And still, when it’s time (every time) he goes off without complaint.
The next day, after workout, bacon for breakfast and more hilarious videos, I take over so Jason, then Kat can have much-deserved massages. The floor, of course, is lava. I must now substitute for Nicole and do many slides onto the pillows, get more pillows as Danger Guy is on a roll. I must slide off with my four-year-old passenger. And I think: Hey, I’ve got twenty years on Nicole! But we just keep sliding because: The Floor Is Lava.
It snows. It’s very pretty from inside our cozy space.
We’ve started a jigsaw puzzle—colorful candy. Kat and Nicole and I have made some progress. Now I make some more.
Later, Griffin doesn’t just want to sit beside me to laugh at videos. He sits on my lap. It’s been far too long since he wanted to. It’s starting to feel like that isolation with Covid, the weeks and weeks apart didn’t happen.
And it feels wonderful.
I have a massage the next day, and after workout (good thing I work out daily considering the sliding, the rolling, the running), breakfast and more Combo panda, I take my book and do the long walk around to poke in the shops a little before I settle down with my lovely book.
Hot stones, warm table, exceptional masseuse. Who could ask for more?
More progress on the puzzle. Check!
Thursday is painting day for Griffin, and I tag along. Usually he’s all about the paint, but not so much this time. Until he realizes he can paint his much adored monster trucks, then dump them in a tub of water to wash them off. Then paint them again because: Oh my goodness! They’re so dirty!
And throughout, there are cookies I didn’t bake, food I didn’t cook and hanging out with good friends, beloved family and a boy who just makes you smile.
Griffin latches onto Bill at dinner. As they’re sitting next to each other, Griffin must share his joy in whatever’s on his little screen, often taking Bill’s hand and pulling him closer.
Friday is nails for me, and my big decision of the week. What colors on the toes. I have my book, a glorious pedicure. I pick a deep brown tone for winter with a lighter bronze shade for my signature accent toe. And finish my wonderful book and get a French manicure.
I loved every page and my very pretty nails.
On the way to the salon I stopped at the toy store. I thought maybe I could find a stuffed panda as my boy is now so into Combo. No luck. The clerk and I hunt for a bit, but no panda. No big deal, I tell her.
But when I get back from the salon, there’s a bag, and a note for Griffin telling him to enjoy. And inside a stuffed panda in a Nemacolin shirt. It’s adorable! And it’s beyond sweet and considerate.
Griffin immediately dubs it—you guessed it—Combo Panda. For the rest of our stay he’s got it with him.
Now I have my second spa book, and when I’m not playing The Floor Is Lava (a lot), I start King’s Fairy Tale. More magic! A much different kind than Sarah’s, but just as riveting to me.
If you’re into magical realism and relationships, don’t miss SAA’s Other Birds—and if you’ve never read her, you’re missing a lot. Start with Garden Spells.
If you’re into magic, adventure, coming of age, dogs, monsters, good kicking evil’s ass, don’t miss SK’s fairy Tale. I gobbled it.
Saturday, it’s COLD. Kat and Jason are going to take Griffin to the carnival thing they have here. Indoors. Ball pits, giant Jenga, slides. BW opts in. I opt out because just getting there will be seriously cold. Take pictures, I plead as they leave and I settle down by the fire with my book.
And they did. The boy had the best time ever.
The post-holiday week was pretty damned perfect for me. Friends, family, a little boy who laughed and laughed and laughed. Two most excellent books to take me away. Treatments to relax me. Morning workouts and bacon.
An excellent way to start the new year.
Now it’s back to work, and I’m more than ready for it. It felt so good to sit at my desk again and dive back into the story. And if I have four tubs of books to sign tonight—and I do—I’ve had a week off to recharge the batteries.
It’s a good deal.
4 thoughts on “Post Holiday Post”
I’m exhausted just reading all this. Your stamina is exceptional! So glad you were able to recharge. Can’t wait to see what you create next!
Wow what a great time. I haven’t been to Nemacolin in almost 25 years. But fond memories of the Golden Trout and the spa. Thank you for the book recommendations too. Happy Healthy Nee Year to your family and friends
Sounds like a good time was had. That’s a great way to start the year!
My goodness this sounds like fun!
Thank you for sharing Griffin’s antics with us! My grand us now 15yrs and a Sophomore in HS. I miss her being this age.
She too had an adjustment to make when she started HS 18months ago. After being remote schooled most of 2020 and 3/4 of 2021, she had to adjust to classmates, teachers and the whole changing classes routine, people being around her, especially if they coughed or sneezed, and the commute.
Glad you enjoyed the spa week. I think my daughter is planning to surprise me with a spa day for my 75th birthday next month. Unlike Eve Dallas, I won’t mind it at all!
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