Sand, Water, Repeat

Nearly two weeks ago now, the boys and I tagged along with the hubby to see the final space shuttle launch. The hubby was covering it for work and had prime viewing from the Kennedy Space Center press site. We, however, stuck close to our hotel to avoid the crowds and watched from a Cracker Barrel parking lot about 15 miles west of the launch pad. Gotta say, it was still awesome, inspiring and breathtaking. I’m so glad that we did it and that the boys can say they were there for such an historic moment.

One of the hubby’s pictures of liftoff from KSC.

Since we were already in Florida, we took the opportunity to spend a few days at the beach after the launch. Once we had lugged all the gear two kids and two adults appear to need for a few hours of fun in the surf and set up the sun tent and applied all the sunscreen, we had a blast. At one point, I simply leaned back on my elbows, my toes digging down into the warm, sun baked sand and watched.
I watched as my boys were digging moats, building roads, running in the surf, peering in crab holes, examining shells. There was endless entertainment and all they had at their disposal was sand, water, a shovel, a bucket and their parents. I didn’t hear “I want to go home,” “I’m bored,” “what can I dooooo?” or the killer, “when can I watch TV?” These thoughts never crossed their minds. They were in love and having a blast.
My dad and his six siblings, grew up in a small New England mill town. My grandfather repaired sewing machines. Certainly he wasn’t pulling in the big bucks and providing for seven children couldn’t have been easy. And yet my grandparents had a “place” on Martha’s Vineyard. Granted this place was not much more than a shack and didn’t have hot water, but my aunts and uncles all have fond memories of summers on the island.
As a mom of two active boys, now I get it. I get why my grandmother would have packed up a summer’s worth of stuff, ridden a ferry and committed to caring for seven kids alone with only her husband as back-up on the weekends for the long stretch of summer. Outside play all day, tired bodies in bed at night, kids using their imaginations to create fun, making new friends, appreciating the simple, yet majestic, aspects of nature.
I wish that little shack was still in the family. I wish I could pitch a tent on a tiny square of its yard and live the summer in a state of hazy, salty glee with my kids. I wish my toes were still in the sand.
In the absence of a small fortune to buy some beach front property, I’ll just have to settle for planning another trip to the shore in a few months.
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