Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Best Day of Summer

The summer is quickly reaching its close, at least the part of the summer that matters- summer vacation for the kiddoes. In my house, this isn't really that big a deal yet, and once school starts the weather here will still be hot. In fact, in Albuquerque, our hottest days may yet be ahead of us. We don't usually break out the jackets until nearly Halloween and then BOOM its winter and the holiday season is upon us. We've had a super mild July, with lots of wonderful thunderstorms and rain. My backyard looks absolutely wonderful as a result- work in progress of course, but everytime I look outside and see the green and yellow and pink I get a rush of happy.

These are actually fuller and about a foot taller now...took this pic almost a month ago.

We have not wasted the season, as I have so many times in the past. Unlike most summers, I wasn't hungover from teaching the school year. In fact, thanks to a new yoga/walk/run regimen, and my fabulous physical therapist, I began the summer in better shape than I've been in 3 years. I've been active and able to keep up with my active little boys. Such a blessing!

The boys and I spent most of June with my parents in Texas, visiting with my darling new nephew, Rory, and his parents as well as some friends I have there. Greg joined us for a week, and during that time we drove down to my Grandma's house in Milton, Fl. Our favorite day of the trip, and possibly of the whole summer, was partially spent at Navarre Beach in Florida. Its an easy drive from my grandmother's house. We woke up to a delicious egg and biscuit breakfast made by Grandma and then packed up and drove to the beach. Even the drive was beautiful, bridges across the bays and vegetation overhanging the highways. The South's best season is Spring, and I'll wager no other region in America blooms quite like it does, but summertime also has its charms, especially when the heat hasn't caught up to all the wonderful giant flowers they grow down there. Anyway, across one more bridge and after figuring out the best place to park, we were up the stairs, over the sand dune, and there was the Gulf of Mexico, brilliantly blue and the beaches smooth white sand. Our shoes were off and after a brief confusion over where to park our stuff, we made a little camp and went straight into the water. Both boys were initially hesitant. The water isn't cold, but in contrast to the hot air it was a surprise. Peter instantly decided he hated moving water, salt water, loud water, and would start a low whine which elevated to crying and tears in proportion to how far into the water you took him. He did mildly better with me. Its amazing to me that Peter trusts me above all others, even his father, when I always make him do the hardest and scariest things. I took him farther in, kneeling on the floor of the Gulf feet from the tide's edge so he could feel the waves moving on us .

Peter was MUCH happier in the sand than the surf.
My fear of sharks attacking and carrying off one or both of my babies stayed with me the first half hour we were there. I could feel my heart elevated and I kept searching the clear water for anything dangerous-looking. It was ridiculous, of course, there were plenty of other people there who were way more accessible away from shore and more tasty than my boys. Who am I kidding, no one is tastier than my boys. But I forced myself into the present, into what was. I forced myself to stop ruining my own day. Standing in the surf with Benjamin, holding tight to his forearms as the waves gave him a ride, seeing his joy and wonder at the entirely new experience of saltwater, Greg sitting on the beach burying himself next to Peter eating sand and enjoying the soft seat, I realized THIS: this was the happiest moment of my life to date. I was going to completely miss it worrying about stupid sharks. I joined my family mentally as well as physically and we spent a perfect 2 hours playing in the surf and sand and worrying about nothing except sunburn.

Words fail. The hair, the smile, the squint-in-the-sun eyes- its all working for me here. 

Beautiful blue green ocean. 

After I realized that the backs of my legs were burned probably to the third degree of skin we packed the boys up and went to rinse off. Watching other people try to rinse off the beach is an entertaining past-time, I can tell you. I refer to the dance done by most as the 'sand-hop', especially as they try to get their feet back in their flip-flops without introducing more sand. Awesome.
I made Greg take this picture because there were no pictures of me taken on our first family trip to the beach yet, and the boys might well wonder if I was even there. Afterward, we drove back to the perfect comfort of my grandmother's house- a place that is as much my home as any house I lived in with my parents- and enjoyed the next two days in the calm of the Florida rain with my father's family. Besides my sunburn, I have everything to be thankful for in that blessed, amazing little trip to Grandma's house.
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