Tuesday, August 04, 2015

I love it when a plan comes together

We were at the movie theater in Corolla last week, taking the kids to see the new Minions movie (which was hilarious, by the way - even my dad, who is generally disdainful of animated films, was laughing his ass off the entire time).  There's a little kids' play area in the lobby area, so before the movie, after we finished our Dairy Queen yummies and while we were waiting for my mom to pick up the chicken that I was going to put in the red thai curry I was going to make for dinner, my dad and I sat and watched the kids play.  There was another family there, and the mom and I struck up a conversation about how great the Outer Banks are as a family vacation spot.

"Have you come here before?" I asked.

"No, this is our first time, but we love it.  We'll definitely be back.  What about you? Is this your first time as well?"

I smiled and said, "actually, my family has been coming here for 37 years, since I was 8 years old."

There were years that we missed while we were in Israel or India, or while my mom was in Romania and Papua New Guinea, but it has always been a place to come back to, and I don't see that changing any time soon.  It's still a given that it's the big family get-together every year.  My parents, my brothers, their wives and children, and me and my kids.  We go to the beach, we do puzzles, we swim in the pool, we play miniature golf, we read books.

We enjoy each others' company.

Some years are better than others.  Last year was fun, but there were those among us who were battling demons and dealing with major life shit, and another who flew out on my parents' dime, stayed in the luxurious house my parents paid for, ate our food, and then proceeded to treat me like utter garbage to the point that my brothers are still furious and my mother finally told him to cut the shit and knock it off.

But this year, it was like the family vacation gods were smiling down on us, bidding us incredible weather, children who behaved delightfully, and family love and harmony. There were no demons. There was no sullen person incessantly complaining about how there wasn't any pot to smoke and just generally making everyone uncomfortable.  It really was so, so wonderful.

Every morning I would get up early and work out (I used the Beachbody On Demand streaming video service, so I didn't have to bring my discs, and I used resistance bands instead of weights).  I'm convinced that sticking to my workout program meant that I only gained 5 pounds, rather than 10 or 15 - we ate a LOT of ice cream, is what I'm saying.

After my workout, my mom and I would walk two miles to a local coffee shop to pick up the newspapers and a large skim iced cafe latte, and walk back.  It was lovely time for us to talk and hang out, just the two of us.

The kids would be up by the time we got back, and I would make eggs and toast for Zeke, Josie and Hazel (and anyone else that wanted it).  We would putter around for a while and then head to the beach, which was a 5 minute walk up the road.

The water and weather were incredible (and we didn't see any sharks!).  We would set up our phalanx of umbrellas and chairs, set the toys and boogie boards out for the kids, and then spend hours, playing in the water, digging in the sand, and reading.

Home base
I don't know when Josie's legs got so long
Boogie boarding
Sam and Zeke do tricks
Burying Zeke in the sand
Josie and Mimi battle the waves
After the beach, or as a beach intermission, we would go back to the house and swim, or lie in the hammock, or have a dance party.

The pool.

Dance party!!

One afternoon, Josie cut her bangs.  She looks like a mini-hipster.

In the evenings, we would all have dinner together, and then have ice cream for dessert.  We would sit up in the crow's nest and enjoy the view and the evening air.

Near sunset, I would take the three little kids to the beach for a walk.  They invented a game called "Cop" in which they would run around, throw themselves down on the sand, and arrest each other.  They would chase the tide.  We would use the flashlight to look for crabs.  They would ask me big questions - "but Mama, where did water come from the first time?  How did it get on Earth??"

Those walks filled me with joy and peace.

The whole vacation did, in fact.  I'm already looking forward to next year.

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