Is it time yet to reminisce about our three-week vacation in the States or is it too soon?

I’ll start with this. Lukas is just back to school today and in proper motherly confessional fashion I will admit: His unused toothbrush stands suctioned to the front door bench. I forgot to pack his baseball cap. I didn’t lather him in sun lotion as it was cloudy when we left the house (fact) but it’s sunny now (another fact).

Oh well.

At least he’s got a seriously good base (don’t tell the dermatologist) and what’s another 20,000 iu’s (that’s international units, for you pale people) of Vitamin D? Might as well stock up while supplies last.

It feels a bit early to reminisce only because it’ll probably make me sad again. I always have a good cry in the car as we drive away from my parents’ house. I can hardly utter the word “bye” without my chin quivering. To make matters worse this time, Lukas was in near tears saying what I felt on the inside, “I don’t want to leave.”

But with our extra duffle bag stuffed with damp swimsuits, Christie’s Greek salad dressing, and newly purchased LL Bean flannel pajama bottoms, we drove off.

I also packed some American cold germs with me. You know how you tell a kid not to cry when they have a cold because it’ll only make them feel worse? Yeah, that.

At least we were headed to my sister’s house for part of Labor Day weekend and not directly to Logan Airport. That helped me recover by the time we got on the Maine Turnpike. That also meant I had another opportunity to cry when we left my sister’s but I’ll save that for later.

Three weeks! It’s the longest we’ve been over there as a family. It gave us time to unwind, relax, and spend time with various family members without feeling like we should be packing up our suitcases again to head to our next destination. We even managed a 5-day trip to South Carolina in the middle of it all! Flew to Charleston, drove to Myrtle Beach, then melted. Wow, it was hot. But we had our choice of covered swimming pools to play in, a foosball table to beat on, and what looked like a million miles of beach stretched out in front of our ocean-front condo. And that ocean water? Bath-water warm. Seriously weird and warm. Made Short Sands Beach in York, Maine feel like something penguins would be comfortable splashing about in.

As I sit here looking out at our back garden lawn that is frantically waving to me as if shouting, “Hey! We’re desperate for a mow!” I feel conflict tugging at my shirt sleeves. This is your home, it’s saying on one side. Make the most (i.e., Just mow the damn lawn). The other side makes me want to jump on Aer Lingus’s site to see how much it’ll cost to fly back over for a solo visit in October or a family visit in December.

But instead I start looking through the photos we took, mostly of Lukas in various poses looking sun kissed and happy and I wonder if we could all live there some day and how quickly we could weave ourselves into the great American fabric.

I don’t think we’d have much of a problem. Lukas took to playing Skee Ball at the Fun-o-rama in York Beach, Maine. My little left-handed wonder.

Yes, so many memories spanning such a short amount of time. I think, for now, to save on the heartache, I’ll just list a few of the many highlights.

Now, I was going to bullet this list but it makes it seem so formal. Considering I was wearing either a bathing suit or shorts the entire time I was in the States, formality just seems absurd.

In no particular order… (ellipsis feels more casual than a colon, doesn’t it?)

Eating steak tip salads, crab cakes, fish tacos, fresh corn on the cob (food first, always)

Watching dolphins and pelicans

Finishing The Maze Runner trilogy

Doing a back dive and front flip off a diving board

Walking Mackworth Island with my mom

Witnessing my nephew Max propose to his girlfriend

Picking berries and apples in NH

Drinking blueberry beer and half & half (iced tea/lemonade)

Waking to a sunrise over the Atlantic

Not waking to an alarm

Perusing the grocery store aisles

Laughing with my nieces playing the repeat the made-up word game

Playing Scrabble with Lukas, Steve and my mom (and unapologetically kicking their butts)

Riding on a boat around Folly Beach, SC, feeling like I was on my dad’s boat again

Late night shopping at LL Bean

Drinking iced Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, skim milk, coconut flavor, no sugar

Using my parents’ Keurig that sounds like a lighthouse horn

Listening to the screen door shut at the Fisherman’s Catch in Wells (still sounds like a dolphin)

Hearing Lukas say, “Can I go to bed?”

And on and on…