Monday, July 9, 2012

What I learned on my summer vacation

Main Beach, East Hampton: My Happy Place
 We recently spent a glorious week on the beach.  Was it relaxing?  No.  But, given that we have five kids seven and under and were away with my parents, sister, brother-in-law, niece, nephew and aunt, relaxation was never one of my expectations.  And, neither were any of the following observations and insights that just happened along the way --  in the midst of lazy, hazy days filled with sand, sun and newly hatched freckles on our fair-skinned flock…

 
  1. Few things in life are more pleasurable than walking on the beach holding hands – be they the small sandy hands of a toddler or the strong, supportive hands of a spouse.
  2. There is still much to be learned from my Dad – including, surprisingly, the ability to boogie board. Yes, at the age of 40, I finally caught a wave. And, it was amazing.
  3. Showers are overrated.  As are baths, soap, shampoo, razors, combs and brushes.  For better or worse, we abandoned many of these personal care items for the better part of a week and emerged no worse for the wear.  Smellier and hairier perhaps but truly, no worse for the wear! (Outdoor showers, on the other hand, should be right up there with the seven wonders of the world!)
  4. My sister is a great mom.  Whereas I ran my kids until they stopped, dropped and rolled (over!), she dutifully left the beach for naptime and did her best to serve dinner before dark.  Well done little sis!
  5. Mother Nature must be respected; consider her the Mother of all mothers and obey or risk her scorn – which, while we were away, took the form of a violent storm and waves that threatened to wipe us away.  Mother Nature, I hear you and I will obey.  Now, if only the kids would treat me with the same courtesy! 
  6. Ice cream and Italian ice aren’t just for dessert anymore.  If you ask my amazing Aunt, they are for breakfast too.  And if you ask my kids, they will enthusiastically agree.
  7. Collecting seashells never grows old.  And decorating seashells – with markers, glitter glue and other small treasures from the sea – can keep kids entertained for hours.  This should be a “must do” on any summer “to do” list!
  8. I belong by the sea.  When I see the ocean, my mood lifts, my head clears, and my troubles fade away.  I now know where I want to be when I am old (or frankly, anytime between now and than since I am officially on the brink!) – by the sea. In a rocker. Perhaps with a blanket and some lemonade. Ah, bliss… 
  9. A rainy vacation day is a great excuse to go to the movies. Enough said! 
  10. My mom, who is far more flip and funny than saccharine and sentimental perfectly summed up our family vacation with a rare display of nostalgia -- “All that matters is that we are together.”  And she was right.