Saturday, July 26, 2014

The pit that waits at the end of the delicious fruit...

I just came home from a fun five-filled days of spending time at Port A with the Meabon's.  All five of us left last Monday and arrived back home today.

There is something a little disquieting about coming home to a quite, empty house after five days of laughter, energy and joy that comes from spending so much time with four members of my wonderfully large family.  

There is suddenly a quiet that reverberates from being completely alone and finding that it’s... okay.  There is such a stillness now that I am home.  No talking over what to do next, no sounds of silly laughter and endless hugs and “Honey, come hold me, or play with me, or watch this”  All of what remains leaves me feeling a little hollow and empty.  It is similar to that pit that one finds in the middle of a delicious peach or sweet cherry.  That lone pit defines you have come to the end of the pleasure of the fruit.  It is that pit that envelops your space telling you this moment of delicious joy has come to an end.  “All good things must come to an end...blah blah.”

I began to create this little vacation idea sometime last Spring.  Knowing Jared had an incredible busy July, it was my intent to give Brooke a bit of relief from being a single mom and enjoy a change of scenery.  Port A was calling.  An easy drive from San Antonio and sure to be an effortless way to entertain an almost 4 year old and a wildly active 2+ year old.  

Fortunately, Jared was able to take some well deserved time off and join us in our little respite.  Let me just take this brief moment to tell those of you who may not know me well, how very thankful and blessed I am to have Jared as my son-in-law.  I really think of Jared as another son. I love him as if he were my own child.  Together, Brooke and Jared are the most terrific twosome.  They have such fun together, they are amazing parents and I think they enjoy spending some of their time with me...what more could any mother-in-law/mom/grandmother want?!?!

So off we went to spend five full days at the beach.  We packed up two cars and away we went.  Harper and Harris were full of anticipation as we unloaded the cars and headed up to our 2 bedroom condo/home away from home for our stay.  Squealing with excitement, we danced and jumped and yelled our way to the “poo” (Harris’ verbiage) for hours of sliding down slides, diving for Spiderman and Cinderella pool toys and jumping off of and into anything possible.  What joy to see their little faces light up as they had the complete attention, love and devotion of not one, not two, but three of the people who loved them more than anything in this entire world.

So the days flew by.  We sent up a permanent canopy on the beach.  We flew kites and attached them to our “outside” home away from home until they were tattered to shreds and the wind could no longer make them soar.

We made sandcastles and mermaids in the sand.  We sucked up baby shrimp with our shrimp sucker (a must have when spending time on the beach. I wish I had invented this simple pvc pipe instrument...what a coo!)

We packed our picnic lunch and headed out to the beach early each morning.  The kids would quickly feel the call of the swimming “poo” and would head up with their parents leaving me time to walk the beach, read and nap under the shade of our canopy.

There’s something about the sea breeze, the sound of the ocean splashing against the sand, the dull background rattle of beachcombers near by that literally lulled me daily to sleep in minutes.  

Each day I would awaken from my sleepy naps to little taps, hugs and giggles of sweet smiling cherub faces staring over me telling me it was time again to play.  Life doesn’t get any better than waking up to those precious, adorable faces!

We would picnic on the beach, appetites so hardy you would think we had all run a marathon.  The seagulls enjoyed our lunch time almost as much as we did.  Harris managed to drop as much food on the sand as entered his mouth, so after lunch activities we spent time chasing seagulls eating Harris's remains.  The kids never gave up trying their best to catch a pesky gull.

After lunch, the Meabon’s would retreat up to the cool of the condo for afternoon naps. I would soak up the ocean water (if you got out far enough the seaweed seemed to disappear.)  The warm salt water was perfect to allow you to bob up and down with the gulf’s gentle waves and lull you into memories of younger days spent at the beach.

A little aside here,  there is nothing quite like the beach to relive those growing up years.  The smell of Copper-tone, along with cocoa butter, that unfortunately,  as teenagers, we would lather ourselves in as we baked to deep golden brown.  

I can vividly remember those days.  As teenagers, we would pile as many friends as possible into the coolest of our friend’s cars, a GTO, and we would head for Galveston.  Music of the 70’s filled the air along with the gulf breeze.  The hot summer sun, best friends and simply being 16.  This was enough to last a lifetime.  I find it incredible that at almost 60 years old, I can still walk a beach and those vivid memories of innocent days so long ago, fill some of my fondest memories.

After long afternoon beach walks, I would find my way back to my little shaded spot.  I would immerse myself in a book and soon my eyelids once again grew heavy and before I knew it hours had passed and little hands were back encouraging me to join in their afternoon play.  

We would stay at the beach just long enough for the ice cream truck to make it’s daily pass-by.  “Home on the Range” blared from it’s speakers foretelling of the delights to come.  Harper, always a little more determined that most of the popsicle landed in her mouth. Harris, whatever made it into his mouth, was good enough, the rest streamed down his mouth, dripping into chest and tummy, leaving him a streaked mass of red and blue.  “Poo” time, we would retreat from the beach for the day and spend the rest of the afternoon swimming in the clear cool blue waters of the Port Royal pool.

Everyone knows you can’t go to Port A without a visit to the “shark’s mouth” junk store and a trip to the coveted candy store.  Been there, done that, Port A is teeming with all things tacky that greatly appeals to 2 and almost 4 year old.  Pink octopus decking the rooftops of souvenir shops, pirates, sharks, pelicans all calling for attention, beckon the wildest imagination of children of all ages.

Each night, all five of us so weary we fought to stay awake much past 9:00 p.m.  We allowed deep sleep to wash over each of us until the tiny fingers and squeals of delight brought another new morning.

I must admit that as we packed up to go our separate ways this morning, a sense of sadness swept through me.  Our much planned and anticipated vacation had come to an end and I was headed home.  That pit was staring me in the face, the delicous fruit had been devoured.

It will take me a day or so to regroup and find my normal life is busy and full and the quiet won’t be so foreboding.  Until then I fill these evening hours writing.

I’m finding my new normal, while not quite what I would have asked for, is turning out to be full of joy, life, and a different kind of richness  

 A friend posted this quote on Facebook today.  I thought it was worthy of repeating...

“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.”  Vicki Harrison
I pray I am learning to swim in these new waters. My desire is to find the calm amidst the waves and simply continue to swim as I find new currents to pull me along.
For what it’s worth,
Daniel 2:21 He changes the times and seasons....He gives wisdom to people, so they become wise. He lets people learn things and become wise.

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