Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Family Vacation Is a Joyful Occasion

A vacation is supposed to be a guaranteed dose of joy and it generally is.

My getaway with my family last week was at times bittersweet, but at the same time it was a joyful escape from everyday life and the shuffle of children and dogs that occurs on a near daily basis at my house. It was a chance to get on one another's nerves even more than we usually do as well, but we all managed to survive (insert laugh) as the seven of us shared a two-bedroom apartment and realized after the first night that putting the people who needed to go to bed first in the living room to sleep probably wasn't the best idea.

Still, in four days of fun, there were bits that stand out.

1. Watching the sun come up over the ocean. I think I would do that every day if I lived at the beach. There's something so special and blessed about the sky and the water and play of light. I would sit on the steps from the motel and there was no sun, then a bright band of light over the water, and then in just what seemed like seconds a ball of fire in the sky.

2. Touching a swimming stingray at the aquarium and finding that it was cool and somehow velvety. Then seeing the look on E1's face when she made the same discovery.

3. Helping E1 overcome her initial reaction to the ocean -- an OMG that's a lot of water and what if that big thing (pier) falls? We went from a "Come on, I'll hold you" to a sandpiper to a "Come away from the water!" over the course of our stay.

4. Building a sandcastle with the girls -- our first joint effort -- and then lying on the beach while they napped and watching strangers stop to make a picture of the castle multiple times.

5. Being middle aged in a two-piece at the beach. Seriously, who cares? It's liberating. I wore what I wanted it to and didn't worry about "looking good" and afterwards, although there was an unflattering picture or two (where did that belly come from in those jeans?) I was just glad to be in the picture.

6. Eating breakfast in a restaurant on the pier with my husband where we could watch the waves and the fishermen, the beach walkers and the early surfers, and escape the chaos of sharing an apartment/room with my daughter and her family and be just a couple for part of each day.

7. Waiting on the pier one night for my husband and having another woman with windblown curly hair ask what I used to make mine look so good and spending time talking to her about natural alternatives to all the chemicals people think they need. (Oh, and BTW the homemade sunscreen kept little people who didn't spend too much time in the water unburned. E1 did wind up with a few pink places as it isn't waterproof and needs to be reapplied.)

8. Chasing ghost crabs with a flashlight on the beach with hubby, the big Es and their dad. The girls squealed and ran and I imagine the crabs did much the same.

9. Dolphins in the surf on our last morning at the beach. Sure, it was just a fin and back here and there, but while watching the pelicans fish after sunrise I realized they weren't alone. We watched dolphins off and on all morning.

10. Realizing that despite what felt like a haphazard way to get everything done at home while I was away, everything survived (although the little rose I got for Mother's Day was a near thing). The dogs were so happy to go back in the house from the kennel, the chickens were still half-heartedly laying eggs, the yard dogs were glad someone was back, the house was cool and the pool was warm.

So this week I'm looking for joy without the ocean, as the old routines try to feel familiar again. It's still here, still waiting to be recognized and pull me from dark places, just like it is for everyone.


  1. Happy Tuesday, Angela! Living vicariously at the beach through your vacation! Thanks for sharing!

  2. What a wonderful vacation! We once holidayed with 13 of us in a little two-bedroom apartment. And survived! Every morning, it was like the after effects of a plague. Prone bodies everywhere! But what a lot of fun!

  3. Annah, if you're ever close by we need to meet face to face. We have too much in common to miss a real connection! It was a wonderful vacation and I love the comparison to the plague, Diane.

  4. Okay, I need to go to the beach now!

  5. Angela, It sounds like you had an awesome time. I loved your sunrise pictures every morning. That is my favorite part of being at the coast. Well, that and fishing. I am glad you had a nice time with your family.

  6. Sounds wonderful! I need the beach.

  7. We all need the beach and the sunrise sometimes. While I don't buy into evolution -- really, all this variety without some divine control -- the peace I feel at the ocean makes me think there is something of it in me. Perhaps it is because the world was all once water, so there is some of it in all of us.