During our week at the beach, I found myself constantly flip-flopping between reflecting on my childhood and making new memories with my children. It was a strange feeling. We were often reenacting activities from when I was a young girl and I was pulled to go right there; to the same spot that I spent entire summers, where I learned to swim in the ocean. The steps and the walkway were there, the ocean and the beach were still there, but our beloved cottage that my Grandfather built was gone.
photo by Lacey
For over seventy years, five generations of my family were blessed to vacation here and I am so grateful to have been a part of it. In the 1940's, when Great Grammy bought the land for one hundred dollars, everyone thought she was crazy. They wondered why she would buy property in the middle of nowhere. As I think about her so strong-willed and thoughtful, making decisions about land purchases as a woman back then, I am inspired and so glad she went through with it.
Can I show you around? Here are a few of my favorite things from inside the cottage before it was sold and demolished last year.
One of my Grammy's favorite photos is of my father and his two brothers when they were a young boy, toddler and a baby. I have a copy of it hanging in my house. It reminds me that some things have not changed.
As I said good bye to a part of my past and welcomed the now, I slowly began to notice that which is so delightfully the same. I was beckoned across the dunes every morning and evening by the high-pitched buzzing and chirping of insect life in the trees. We played and laughed for hours on the sand with generations of cousins and paddled out into the depths of the ocean to bring forth treasures that are living fossils.
We used the term under the house to describe the point of entry for a house built on stilts. We had fascinating discussions about World War II because of the remaining towers looming nearby. I paid close attention to the birds and watched what they were doing.
At one point my daughter called from the water's edge, "Mama watch!" I turned to see her run into the surf. She waded in quickly beyond her waist and soon the water was up to her neck and she started to swim. Like a little puppy dog, she intuitively curved around as a swell lifted her up and she rode the wave into shore. The look on her face was pure satisfaction and pride. That evening, she asked me if she could paddle her own kayak into the ocean. The waves were small, the ocean was calm and I stood on my paddleboard and watched in wonder and surprise. A mother-daughter sunset paddle was something I didn't expect to be doing for a few years.
There was another moment when a pod of wild dolphins that I had been following dove beneath the surface out of sight. I stopped paddling and floated on the ocean scanning the horizon. Pwoosh! The sound of air being exhaled through a mammalian blowhole surprised me. A pod of dolphins arched through the water toward me and dove under my boat. The sun shone on their skin and I could see the varieties of color and patterns among them. They were swimming in a group protecting the juvenile in the center of the pod. When they were a safe distance away from me, the little one breached, jumping out of the water and landing on its side.
Instead of collecting shells or buying souvenirs, I held these moments close. This is what I came for, this is what I will return for every year and this is what I want to bring back with me tomorrow when we board the plane for home. It was so great to see you all and I am filled with gratitude!