LIFE'S A BEACH
In 2011 Paul and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. Our daughters wisely picked up on my heavy-handed hints that such an auspicious occasion should be lavishly celebrated. I didn't mean a party, nor did I want them to send us on a cruise or to a luxury resort. I wanted THEM, all my crew, in one place at one time...for several days.
These girls of mine are masters of resourcefulness and found us the perfect house on a perfect beach for a perfectly wonderful celebration; they even saw to it that we had perfect weather. So enchanted were we all with our "Endless Summer" house in Gulf Shores, Alabama, that we returned the next year, and the next. (Although, you'd think each year was our first if you measured the level of upreparedness and anxiety that permeates our homes the week preceeding each departure).
Two out of the three years that we have traveled the 700+ miles, something "flukey" has happened to delay our departure. This year a power outage and monsoon-like rains were our cheery send-off. Traffic snarls, so out of place on interstates, seemed to be the norm, and the week's weather forecast was not encouraging. Yet our spirits were as high as our aforementioned level of anxiety. The punks and I had talked for weeks about what we were anticipating...they were all, save baby Cam, old enough to remember last year and were eager to build bigger/dig deeper/swim farther. I was anxious to once again do some beach running (a thrilling discovery two years ago) and had a whole bag packed with props for "YaYa's First Annual Beach Fun and Games."
We played "Fill the Bucket",
and "Indian Kickball".
We hunted treasure,
dug buckets of seashells,
and buried people up to their necks.
We fished and played in the water.
We roasted marshmallows on a beach fire and lit sparklers and played baseball with a shovel for a bat.
We spent hours trying to get $1 kites to fly
We built sand castles and doll houses (Emily's preference).
We dug halfway to china.
We celebrated Jake's 12th birthday (belatedly)with an "All About Jake" game and Uncle Mo's (early) with cake and blue ice cream and "the-many-faces-of-Uncle Mo" masks.
We crowned a winner of "YaYa's Fun and Games" and had a glow-stick dance party.
We ate meatball subs (a traditional "first night" meal), shrimp and fish caught on the annual "Guys Fishing Trip". We took hundreds of pictures and argued over who would get to hold baby Cam.
I'm just sayin'...we had a LOT of fun!
But all those "activities" pale compared to the joy these days afforded me, surrounded by the people I cherish most in all the world. I love, love, love watching my children enjoying their children. I adore watching the cousins bond with each other and their aunts and uncles. My heart skips with delight every time an unexpected moment of humor/insight/gratefulness appears to set another stone in the altar of this place where God and his heaven seems so tangible to me. And I allow myself to think how absolutely divine it would be if this became a rock-solid tradition for us....a place that none of us can imagine forgoing, ever. I can see that seed taking root in the hearts of some of my grandchildren already, a yearning for tradition and a constant in a quickly changing world. Yet I know that tomorrow is guaranteed to no one and circumstances can change in the most unexpected and unwelcome way. So I will look at my pictures ad nauseum and try not to let my mind go to "What if....?" And I will "remember out loud" those magical days in that, for me, magical place. I think I can find some little punks to join me in that.