Saturday, May 30, 2015

St. Pete + Reflections

Summer started last week and the first day saw us heading south to St. Pete's Beach.  It was a much needed vacation after a whirlwind year - school days for our two girls mixed with my revived career ambitions plus one lonely little man at home and a busier-than-ever husband. 

The week was full of sand and salt and pool water and sunshine and sunscreen.  It was marvelous.  

Sadie learned to swim on this trip.  We visited Winter, the dolphin we fell in love with while watching A Dolphin Tale. 

 Amelia conquered her fear of the water, held a live fish, and made a half-dozen new friends, as she always does wherever she goes.  

Hammocks and a fireworks show on the beach (a first for all five of us).  We discovered a colony of fighting conchs, which we marveled at, touching their slimy bodies and bringing them to shore to watch them scoot their way back to the sea.  

Gunner relished the sand, scooping with his diggers and driving his monster trucks to his heart's content.  Alex & I floated on the waves and just relaxed and laughed with our children.  We spent our nights walking in the surf, watching the sun fall behind the expanse of ocean, enjoying dinner's out, sleeping in.  

The last night of our trip, as I gathered my family's things to head back to life and home, I felt a peace that I hadn't in such a long time.  A year maybe.  Content.  Happy.  Calm.  It wasn't - I don't think - the vacation that made me feel that way.  Like every family, ours bickered about beds and where to eat and who's turn it was to open the door with the card.  We fought and cried and laughed and smiled.  It was real life and yet, it was also a bit of a suspension of reality.  There were little responsibilities, not much to take us away from each other.  It was a feeling I wish we had a lot more at home.

There is always a tug in my heart.  A pull of what needs to get done, practical matters like laundry and dishes and meal plans.  Grocery shopping and yard work and to-do lists.  There's homework and deadlines and bedtimes and clean-up.  The hours of work that I've committed myself to, that often have me up before I want to be.  All the little things that keep life moving.
Then there are the things that I want to do, for myself, for my family.  The blog posts which never get written despite being on the list for weeks.  The novel that waits, unfinished, for me to tie the ends together.  Train tracks to be built, then torn down and built again.  Chalk roads to be drawn.  Stacks of books to be read.  Listening to my girls as they recreate the videos they love to watch online.  Dance party's and board games.  New experiences to be had, new places to be seen.

Life is an ever-moving force.  Each day, each moment even, seems to both drag on and flash by so fast I almost miss it.  I don't want to wake up one day and see my children grown and forget that they were ever little.  It's already gone so quickly.  Alex & I think back to little quirks one of them had, and it's almost like grasping at sand in a dust storm.  A few grains are gathered, but most are scattered about, numerous yet uncollectable in whole.

This brings me back here: to this blog.  To the reasons I wanted a blog in the beginning.  Not because I have something earth-shattering to say to the world.  But because I have the story of my family to tell.  If I don't see it, if I don't write it down, it will fade, gradually, into faint memories; fuzzy, grainy, scattered so much that I won't be able see them at all.

“ And never forget that writing is as close as we get to keeping a hold on the thousand and one things--childhood, certainties, cities, doubts, dreams, instants, phrases, parents, loves--that go on slipping, like sand, through our fingers.”

-Salman Rushdie

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