Writing 101: Day 2 Somewhere Other Than Here

I am sitting on the warm sand near the ocean. It’s our last day here. We had all agreed we needed to pack up early and get back to the beach house to clean and prepare for our departure tomorrow.

The time keeps getting later and later and no one is making a move to pack up. No one wants to call it quits. No one wants to interrupt this moment.

If we don’t move, time almost stands still even though the sun, a giant ball of yellow light, is quickly sinking behind the tall grass and the weathered, wooden walkway.

Except for the seagulls squawking, looking for remains of today’s picnics, and the rhythm of the waves crashing, it’s quiet on this beach. Not because of the late hour; it’s been this way all week. A quiet, fairly non-commercial strip of paradise guarded by massive beach houses, dream houses.

The few remaining beach goers are packing up as the tide is coming in, calling it a day.

And we all just hang on a little longer.

The littlest, a blonde haired angel with a polka-dotted suit, is squatting down and patting the sand with her chubby little hands. She chatters about the castle and how it’s “the best ever.” Her face lights up as the big kids dig and scoop and shout directions. She’s admired them all week, particularly fond of the little boy, her cousin, who is just a few years older.

He is frantically running back and forth to the water, his skinny arms barely strong enough to carry the orange bucket, water sloshing everywhere. His chest and shoulders and back are toasted brown after five days under the North Carolina sun. His cheeks have been protected from the sun by his faded gray baseball cap. He never takes it off as is obvious by its little boy smell of saltwater and sweat.

He runs to his sister, the oldest of the group and clearly in charge. Her long brown hair is in a salty, tangled braid and she squints in the sunlight. She looks different without her glasses, which she’s left safely back at the beach house. She points to a hole protected by a wall of sand that has been decorated with sticks and seaweed and shells.

He dumps the water into the hole just as a rush of water comes streaming in from both sides. They all scream and squeal as their castle collapses and their shovels and sand toys start to wash away into the sea….

Yes, this is where I long to be.

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Spring Break Love

There’s so much to say, but alas, Spring Break is almost over and I want the words to be just right. So, for now,  12 pictures = 12,000 words.

There’s so much to say, but alas, Spring Break is almost over and I want the words to be just right. So, for now,  12 pictures = 12,000 words.

Recent Accomplishments

Yesterday I got to thinking about how great my kids are. (Yeah, yeah, aren’t they all?)  But seriously, MJ and Ian have had some pretty great accomplishments in the past few weeks.  Here they are in random order:

1. MJ was selected to be on the Power of the Pen writing team at school. It’s a creative writing competition with several rounds in the next few months.  The first competition is Feb. 15th.  Wonder where she gets her writing talent? 😉

2. One of MJ’s  drawings from Drawing I is now hanging in the main lobby of our building.  I took this pic of it yesterday morning when the lights were out, but I like the reflection of the front doors.


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3. MJ placed 6th in the district spelling bee this past Tuesday. It is  plausable plausible she will never misspell a certain word again the rest of her life.  (My forever-word is opera!)

4. Ian’s Upward basketball team finally won a game. They played another 0-2 team yesterday and won 24-10!

5. Stats on Ian’s basketball career (since he informed me he plans to be in the NBA after playing for OSU.):

Week 1: 2 points (the ONLY basket) – The final score was 32-2.
Week 2: 8 points – His best game “EVER” despite a loss of 36-12.
Week 3: 6 points, 7 assists, 4 steals, and 2 rebounds (This is his unofficial report to me because, unfortunately, I was monitoring Saturday School and had to miss it.)

6. It would be unfair to not give a shout-out to my Bluebird. Like a new mother, I celebrated the first (and only) night he slept all night this past Wednesday.  His internal clock is amazing. He wakes me up at 2:10 every night to go out and then at 5:26 a.m. to eat.  I took his water away at dinner time the last few nights but it only worked that one night.  Suggestions are welcome!

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The look I get when I interrupt Blue’s nap…

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And when I let him sleep….

Here’s hoping for more great things the rest of the month!

On the Road Again

All summer, I have been feeling a lot of pressure to “take a vacation” like we do every year.

The last few years I have taken the kids either by myself, or with my parents, to the beach or Orlando. Last year was tops in their book. My boyfriend and I took all four kids to Myrtle Beach. It was the best vacation.

How do I top that when 1) my boyfriend and I are no longer together and 2) I am so apprehensive about traveling right now with Ian?

Considering we basically discovered Ian had diabetes while traveling over Christmas vacation, I just associated a whole lot of bad with traveling any distance.

And now I had to think about supplies and food and drinks and emergencies solo.  It was just too overwhelming and created a lot of anxiety for me.

I have done short little jaunts to Cleveland with my parents. We’ve been to the Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame, an Indians game, and a Cavs game since Ian’s diagnosis.

But to take a trip, just me and the kids….

I wanted to do it. I really, really did. And at least half a dozen times, I would sit down with my laptop and look up possible destinations. (Only those within driving distance, it will be a long time until I want to fly again.)

I’d go as far as the button to confirm a hotel reservation and I’d chicken out.  I’d scrap the whole plan.

In fact, the first week of summer I did this very thing and ended up picking them up at their dad’s an hour later with a different plan when they immediately asked, “What are we gonna do this week? Are we going anywhere?”

I shared our itinerary in one big breath and with as much enthusiasm as I could, “Well, right now we are going grocery shopping and you can pick out some snacks! Tonight we will go to the park and play putt-putt!  Tomorrow it’s supposed to rain, so I thought we’d go to a movie. Wednesday and Thursday we can go to the lake (and you can take friends). Friday we are having a bonfire at Pa’s house! And Saturday…we are going to my cousin Kendyl’s graduation party.”

Well, my pitch worked.

Ian exclaims, “Yes!!!! This is the best week EV-ER!”

Ah, thank you, God, for letting my children love the little things in life.

The week ended up costing me under $30. (We didn’t go to the movie; I think we settled on the library instead.)

Honestly, we could have probably repeated that week five more times this summer and they’d have been ok with that.

But something kept pushing me to do more. Go further. Get away. The little voice in my head wouldn’t stop. “You can do this. You need to do this. Start small. Baby steps.”

So…on Saturday I said the words out loud to MJ…”Maybe we should go to Pittsburgh tomorrow? Go to IKEA? I don’t know. We could even stay overnight at a hotel…with a pool?”

I had her at “pool.”  Her eyes lit up.

Step 1 to being held accountable: Say something out loud in front of your teenage daughter.

From there, the wheels were set in motion.

As Ian played Wii in the other room, we talked about what time we could leave. What we could do. What we needed to pack.  We looked at hotels. I didn’t go as far as hitting the button to confirm a hotel reservation but I was knee-deep in the promise of a road trip.

Pittsburgh

Taken by Ian on my iPhone on the way out of town.

We may have only been gone one night, and only went an hour and a half away, but this may have been one of the best and most memorable of all our vacations.

In fact, it was so special and eventful, I am reserving 3 more blog posts about specific parts of the trip.

But I will tell you this: For me, this trip was huge. It showed me that I can do it.

I can plan, pack, drive, and survive a road trip with these two.

I am on the road again.