You hit the beach during the day, get home around 4, shower to get the Atlantic salt and sand off every inch of your body, listen to your daughter teach campfire songs from family camp to her cousins, look at old family photos and marvel at how much she looks like you, grab some grub (grub being Chesapeake crabs or boardwalk fries with vinegar - two must haves out here), take in an amusement park with the kids, ride your first roller coaster since college with your daughter who keeps her hands raised the entire time while you are just trying to "create a great moment" for her even though you are scared *&^%less, ride the smaller coaster with your son, stop for ice cream, get home late, snuggle your boy and rub his head until he falls asleep, and then stay up even ridiculously later watching Olympics, the most perfect summer television event to settle in and watch after a day full of activity, knowing that you can sleep in the next day. Remember, we're on East Coast time, so the Olympics last until 1:00 AM.
But since your daughter is also staying up ridiculously late watching the games, and your son is wiped out from waves, no naps, and all that other stuff I just typed, sleeping in is almost a given.
This has been a great trip thus far.
Many of you parents out there may choke on what I'm about to write next.
Vacations are better with children.
I know that sounds completely screwy. And yet, there is no better way to take in new experiences. New, meaning, new for them, which in turn, makes them seem new to you: the adult. Adults who have a tendency to lose the wonder in the moment due to all the clutter in our heads.
Take the roller coaster. I really didn't want to ride it. It was a carny coaster. Freaked me out. And, in all honesty, my back is a now a bit tight. But my own fear and discomfort seemed so very unimportant next to sharing a new personal risk with Harper, void of visible fear. Her squeals and smiles were infectious. Thus, I had a great time. She went on to ride that coaster 4 more times.
Zane also rode a coaster, albeit smaller. First with his cousin Toby, and then again, with me. We were the only two on the ride. He was so excited to be riding with me that he must have turned and kissed me square on the lips at least 10 times throughout the ride.
Both Harper and Zane jumped waves with Daddy. This too, freaks me out, and yet having grown up at the beach every summer, I can jump 'em, swim through 'em, and body surf 'em. However, my adult mind has clouded those childhood memories. Knowing I would need to help them resurface, I left the two piece at home, donned the one piece, and got in the water. Harper debated the waves for a day and a half before inching her way out with George. And after getting hit pretty hard, (it was bound to happen, as the waves have been fierce the last two days), she came up laughing and shouting, "AWESOME! That was awesome!" Zane, too, was caught up in the moment and allowed George to walk him in.
My children seem to give me the ability to put myself aside: my fears, my discomfort, my disinterest, and my busy ways, in order to just enjoy. To rediscover pure enjoyment.
As we left the amusement park tonight, the kids asked if we could stop for ice cream. Zane was insistent.
"Mom, there's a MxDonald's. They have ice cream there."
I was silent.
"Mom? Did you hear me? There is a MxDonald's."
I remained silent.
"Mom?" a tiny little finger gets pointed in my face. "Mom? You have to speak."
I couldn't. I was just enjoying listening to him.
Ultimately, my answer was yes. We did not, however, hit MxDonald's for ice cream. We're at the beach. There's far better than MxDonald's.
Tomorrow we're off to Assateague Island and will hopefully get a glimpse of the famed wild ponies of Chincoteague while taking a boat to the island. No doubt there will be much to discover on the island.