Just wanted to close out this trip – our bags are packed and we’re ready to drive home tomorrow. As ready as we’ll ever be, I mean. Every year when I come down here I find myself pondering the life of the beach chair guy or the hair wrap girl and thinking, yeah maybe I could do that if it meant being at the beach all the time… then I usually shake my head and try to move on with rational thoughts.
Wish I had a picture or two to sum up this day – actually that’s not accurate, I have a scazillion from today, owing to the Borrowed Really Nice Camera. That thing makes anyone look like a pro. They’re actually all in a slideshow on this very laptop, with appropriate music playing along (remember, I’m married to McGyver, at least when it comes to all things media). What I should say is that I wish I had a picture that I didn’t have to go look for and then resize and upload blah blah blah. Yes, I’m lazy. Also, though, I’m not sure one picture could convey all of today.
It’s Will’s 6th birthday today, and we celebrated in very fun beach style, with a great fruit tart and presents at breakfast. He got a straw hat that he immediately put on. Then he got a big stuffed frog with a zipper mouth that you can put things in. So he took off the hat, unzipped the frog, and put it on his head. Of course. That pretty much sums up my youngest. It was so great to see him enjoy this day.
Then midmorning, Bryan took all the kids and picked up his mom (Grammy and Bryan’s sister and 3 cousins have been here with us all week too – so fun) and they went shopping. It was Will’s birthday present and the other two got in on it by association, I guess. It worked out great for everyone involved. Bryan and his mom LOVE to shop (yes, I did just say that), the kids got some great stuff, and I got to go to the beach. Alone.
About the beach – I think I have been fairly clear about all our adventures with the beach construction. Today though, unbelievably, the beach was back. We could walk right down the stairs and be there. And it was amazing – the area of the beach, because of all the sand they had added, was easily 5 or 6 times as big as when we got here. Wider, bigger, than I’ve ever seen. And…the umbrella guy was there, setting up stuff for us. The same umbrella guy that scooted us and wouldn’t rent to us next door, was out there today, setting up chairs just for us. Being all nice. And I was just so happy about it all that I couldn’t even really hang on to all the sarcastic bitter things that I wanted to say…
So I sat, on that huge expanse of powdery white sand, on a wood and canvas chair, and dreamed. Every once in awhile I wandered out into the shallow, cool surf, and let the water wash over my feet. I could have been anywhere, it felt like. Specifically, I felt like I was in the south of France, or at least someplace vaguely European (never having been there, and really having no knowledge of what the south of France is like, I feel that I was probably right on the nose in my assessment of this). Only occasionally would I glance a little too far to my right and see the Nascar beach set – umbrella and matching chairs, emblazoned with a big number 3 that I know is some driver’s number, and I know I’ve been told the name of this driver, but my brain absolutely refuses to hold on to any information even remotely related to Nascar, or my bank account for that matter – and remember that I was actually still in the southern United States. It was gorgeous.
Later, everyone found their way to the beach and we got to see again these cousins that usually see each other once a year play together. They’ve had such a blast digging and surfing and catching things that you just want to never come in. Today, there was shaved ice for everyone.
Toward the end of the afternoon, clouds blew in – but even that was good, because it got us in off the beach in plenty of time to clean up and change clothes for the annual Happy Family Beach pic. The kids had really cute new clothes from The Children’s Place Outlet (ohmygoshilovethisplace) I don’t really want to go on about the picture taking process too long except to say that at one point I might have been yelling at my kids, a little, about the importance of looking happy for the picture! and that you like your brother! and how if you don’t there will be consequences! I think you can probably draw your own conclusions about how that went.
We ate dinner and then all the remnants of key lime pie and cookies and everything else that was still hanging around. I began to feel a little like Craig Loibner when a camp is over at Castle Bluff, and he comes walking around trying to “sell” all the leftovers from the weekend. Macaroni and cheese, anyone? We watched the slideshow of the day’s pictures. Then, Grammy and Aunt Jess and the cousins had to leave and go pack – and I got a little sad, for the first time all day (which is really something, considering I am leaving the land where I truly belong but only visit for a week a year). I was sad because this time for my kids and their cousins was sacred somehow, set apart, and before too long there won’t be the easiness between them all, the falling into friendship that still happens right now. Jessica’s youngest looks at my daughter the way my daughter used to look at another, older cousin – who now doesn’t have the time of day for her when we visit. It’s understandable – she’s a teenager. And one day my girl will be one, and on and on. I know, I spiraled there pretty quick – but sometimes I look at my kids and I suddenly see the way it is right now but won’t always be. I’m so glad they had this trip – I hope they hold onto it.
Not much else – we did pack. And I am ready to go back. Bryan messed around with the pics a little more, and then began to play them again. Suddenly I heard singing – I got troubles Lord…but not today…they gonna wash away…they gonna wash away. “Wash Away” by Joe Purdy is the song we used for Pete and Andy, and I thought again of Lee. Again, sadness, but then the thought came to me – how wonderful that song is for him now, how it will have deeper meaning every time I hear it.
All in all, a pretty perfect last day. With peace in our souls we return.