Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Mother of All Days

Mothers Day. It's a weird day for me. I don't feel old enough to be someones mother, yet I am, and I'm almost thirty-eight, so that isn't even young to be a parent to a three year old. Mothers Day just always seemed about older mothers. My mother. But not even. Because my mother wasn't that into Hallmark holidays. Sometimes we went to brunch. Sometimes she did stuff with her friends. Sometimes I was with the family of a boyfriend or now, my husband.

Now my mom is gone, so it seems like a somber day even though I didn't always spend it with her. I did always take time to find the right card, scoured Loehmanns and street fairs for the right gift. Now the day sort of gets to be about me, since I am now a mother. I rarely choose something to do because most holidays are spent with my in-laws, which has always been fine with me. I suppose, like my mother, or because of my mother, holidays never seemed like a big deal to me. I also feel that if I'm being appreciated, for the most part, by my son and husband throughout the year, then I don't need to be treated extra special on this "made up" holiday. Sort of like anniversaries. I get celebrating them- they're milestones. But I'm not looking for something extravagant because I feel like if something extravagant has to be done, it usually means you're under appreciated the rest of the time. At least that's how it seems to me. In a previous long term relationship, I longed for anniversaries and Valentine's Day because I NEVER felt appreciated. So on those days, I could hope for the best- at the time flowers and a dinner out to TGIFridays. I thought- at least he's going to do SOMETHING on X day. And I learned to be happy with that. My husband is pretty good about spreading the appreciation out over the year so these "special days" aren't overly important to me.

At any rate, this year, my in-laws were doing their own thing, so my husband really wanted to be able to do something I wanted to do. But he wanted to be "near water", so we planned on going down to the shore. We didn't want to do anything expensive but wanted it to be nice. I LOVE breakfast food. Someone had told me this place, Toast, has red velvet pancakes. I was ALL IN. They have a place in Montclair and opened a place in Asbury. We tried calling to make a reservation but for some reason their phone wasn't going through. So we just took a chance. We didn't get down there until almost one o'clock. We were lucky- by the time we got there, we had no wait.

They have an interesting menu. B got some kind of Bananas Foster pancakes. I got the red velvet ones for E and I. B loved his and the red velvet was well worth the drive. They came WITH FROSTING. E ate all of his with no battle so I can say they are definitely kid-friendly. The portion is huge so I couldn't eat all mine, but I brought them home to give to E for the next two days. Honestly, I think they were even better the 2nd and 3rd day- cold. We may not go back down to Asbury for awhile but we'll definitely go to Montclair. Next time I plan to try their French toast with Nutella and fresh strawberries. They also don't give you a hard time when you try to order something that isn't the way it is on the menu. For example, we wanted just some scrambled eggs on the side. They were fine with that. We've tried doing that at another place we like and I had to get the WHOLE DISH as it is on the menu with the eggs. At this other place, the eggs weirdly come with a salad and we had to have and pay for the whole thing. We couldn't just get scrambled eggs a la carte. Toast gives you what you want and charges you accordingly. I like that.

After brunch, we drove to Long Branch to walk around. Where McLoone's Pier House is located- Pier Village. It was CRAZY busy down there. FYI, they have a giant gravel parking lot where a building must have been. Before summer season kicks in, it's only $5/day to park there. It's well worth it being directly across from the beach. You can go back and forth to your car and it's just really convenient. I asked if the price goes up and the kid working it told me he thinks it becomes $15 which is still good for parking all day. I'm pretty sure it's like $20-$25 to park in a Pt Pleasant lot for the day. Of course there is more to do in Pt Pleasant but whatever- it's still a lot of money to park.

They really filled up the retail over there. There's a really cool surf shop. I was able to buy towels there after E decided he'd go whole hog in the sand, which I was not expecting. A great pizza place we ate in, a Stewart's, some interesting clothing and chatchke boutiques, a gym, Red Mango, Sawa sushi, etc. It has a good mix of things. Plus, it's just down the boardwalk from Ocean Place Resort & Spa, which has a cool outside tiki bar to hang at. And if you have to pee they have clean, open bathrooms that they don't seem to mind if the public uses.

Pier Village in general is just a really nice day trip if you live in Bergen County. It's not as far as Pt Pleasant, the beach is a decent size, there is plenty of food options, and they have public restrooms aside from in Ocean Place- they just happened to be closed for renovations the other day. I assume they'll be open when Memorial Day comes.

We ended up staying the entire day into the evening. Afraid of Garden State Parkway Traffic we decided to drive a bit north before getting on there. We wanted ice cream so we drove through Red Bank and stopped at Crazies. B and I had been there before and I think it was just called Thomas Sweet before. It had Thomas Sweet on the window but it was called Crazies. I only remember the Thomas Sweet name because it was all the rage in Princeton when I went to Rider. So we got ice cream, sat on their benches and enjoyed the beautiful early evening weather.

It ended up being a really great day. E was so tired he fell asleep in the car for a little while at 6:15, before ice cream. He hasn't fallen asleep in the car since he was an infant. Of course it was terrible timing because no one wants their toddler falling asleep at that hour, but luckily he woke up for ice cream and stayed awake the rest of the ride. We all got some time to decompress and not be immersed in the stress of daily life and I got to honor my mother in a way she would've loved- laying in the sun on the beach and eating ice cream. There couldn't be a better ode to Rita. And to me. So thank you B & E for making it a lovely, stress-free, fun day. I appreciate that we were able to just spend the day together doing whatever, on a whim. The unplanned sometimes turns out to be the most fun

Hope you all had a happy Mother's Day too!


  1. Sounds like a great Mother's Day... glad you enjoyed it. Red Velvet is Jesse's favorite... pancakes? Looks like we'll be taking a drive for breakfast soon! :-)

  2. Aim- it's worth it. I didn't eat them all so I took them home. They were even better cold the next day.