We’ve returned from our annual Walton/Beck family beach retreat and it was…as much as you can fit into the word “wonderful”, it was all that and a bag of chips. (Actually about 10 bags of Zapps chips, and my bathroom scale is groaning under the proof.)
Here’s a brief schedule of events on any given day of our trip:
Go to beach
Go to beach
Crawl into bed with visions of sand fairies dancing in your head
Awesome, right? We are not burdened with distractions, shopping, anything…it’s all about lounging, digging, splashing, snacking, laughing, and just being together. You know how you mostly always need a vacation after a vacation? Not so in this case; I don’t think that it would be possible to come home from a trip any more relaxed or refreshed, and with a suitcase of clean laundry to boot.
Much like our Easter trip to the farm, Asher blossomed in the presence of his cousins, starting the week as a fearful baby who was concerned about the sand, about his parents holding other children, about being somewhere new, and ending the week helping Drew dig his annual Big Hole in the sand, laughing as waves crashed on him, and rolling on the floor and laughing with the cousins. It’s enough to make (these two sappy, dorky) parents choke up a little. There’s a little boy in there.
This week is really special for us every year because it’s hard to be a flight away from family that we love so much, so being able to be with Drew’s mom and brother and sister and her family is not only really fun, but it’s an opportunity to reconnect and feel close despite the miles between us. We mostly keep it light, but those moments of serious conversation, of laughing so hard, of watching our children play together and knowing that they’re going to be old together one day…well, it’s just good for the soul, you know? It’s a good reminder of the sweetness of family and the joy of being able to love and be loved. It’s just so good.
Jeff brought a YOLO board which we all had a good time learning to paddle on. Standing up and paddling in the ocean is no joke, but it was a lot of fun once we got it. My time on the YOLO board came to a close when I was asked if I saw the 3-4′ shark that was swimming next to me as I was paddling on it. No, I did not. Excuse me while I go barf.
Our friend Chuck came by with his twin boys Jackson and Aiden and we even managed to get all of the kids to sit still (for exactly 6 seconds) for a picture:
(L-R: Caroline, Charlotte, Asher, Aiden, Jackson)
Drew’s Big Hole. Why does Drew dig the Big Hole every year? Hard to say, except that it brings him (eh, the children! It’s for the kids!) great satisfaction. When asked about using this hole digging talent to create something other than a Big Hole, Drew counters with, “nah, that doesn’t sound very fun”. Big Hole it is.
All in all, it was a wonderful week. I loved watching Asher especially, which I know is probably incredibly shocking to all of you, but it wasn’t just because I could watch him staring at paint drying and enjoy myself, this time it was because he was such an inspiration. Toddlers can’t ever seem to satiate their inherent curiosity, and so even though Asher didn’t like the feeling of the sand when he first stepped on it, he couldn’t keep himself from stepping on it a second, third, fourth…time until he found that it was actually pretty fun stuff. I shy away from so much if I think that I might not like it, but watching Asher forge ahead into all that life has to offer, well it’s a good reminder that I need to keep trying things and pushing myself a little more because there’s a whole lot of fun to be had out there. Seeing him confidently walking around at the end of the week like he owned his little slice of the world was a great reminder that we are much more able than we often give ourselves credit for, and that it’s possible to change immeasurably over the course of a week if we allow ourselves to. Well, all of that and he’s crazy cute in swim trunks, but mostly the inspiration bit. I love that boy.