Last month I created a two-day self retreat at my parents new, empty home located just 45 minutes from my house. It was the first time in over 5 1/2 years that I had gone away over night away from my youngest child. I went to recharge my batteries as well as to write. It was wonderful. While I was there, I planned this trip to the beach. I vividly recall dancing around my parents empty living room shouting, “The… BEACH!”
It’s been 3 years since I have been to the beach. It has been 3 years since my family has gone to the beach. We have a time share and haven’t used it in three years. We were long overdue for a trip to the beach. We live just three and a half hours from Myrtle Beach. I originally thought it would be a two or three night trip until I started playing with dates on the Bluegreen website. My oldest, Harrison, was supposed to be on a boy scout backpacking hike from Friday through Monday and he would have classes on Thursday. So when I scheduled a trip for Sunday through Friday, I thought we would need to take two vehicles. Somehow the stars aligned in the universe and my son’s trip got changed to ending on Sunday. He talked to his English teacher about missing class because they had a paper due in class that day and was told by the teacher,”Dude, go to the beach”.
A new friend, that I found on an international unschooling list and who happens to live just 2 neighborhoods away from me, set up a gluten and dairy free meal exchange with five families. My wonderful husband had the idea to save all the meals for this beach trip. We also made pancakes, three kinds of muffins, egg salad, potato salad, and chicken salad. We thought Harrison would be back from his trip between 3 and 5 pm Sunday and so we arranged to drive the hour to the state park to pick him up to get him home as soon as possible to get on the road. Saturday night, he sent me a text and told me they were changing the hike plan for Sunday and would be finished between 11 and noon. No need to drive the hour to pick him up. He arrived back at the scout house at noon and my husband was there shortly after to pick him up. We finished our packing and headed out at 4:15 pm.
It was a long three and a half hour drive. Maybe because we left during the day while it was raining and then the sun set and it was dark when we arrived. It just felt like an all day drive. Could have been because I have been eagerly awaiting a return trip to the beach ever since we went home three years ago.
We arrived at 7:50pm and I went in the lobby to check in quickly because my daughter was eager to get to the room to watch Once Upon a Time, which airs at 8pm on Sunday night. We made it up to our room at 7:57pm. I took the foil wrapped fish and veggies prepared by one of my friends from our gluten and dairy free meal exchange. Despit sitting in a cooler for over three hours, they were very frozen after 40 minutes in the oven. In my family, over hungry people makes for much tension and chaos. I decided to go with my two boys for a night walk on the beach while we waited for the food to cook. They wanted to go and my daughter wanted to stay back.
We went down the elevator and crossed the street. This resort has two buildings, one on the beach and one across the street. Because I booked just one month in advance, there were no room available at the beach front building. We took the pathway that leads to the beach acess and entered the beach in the dark. My 5 year old was nervous at first as we stood on the beach in the dark, the waves rolling onto the sand. I took his hand and we waked to the water. It didn’t take long and we were allowing the waves to splash us as we moved in and out of the water laughing. He was 2 1/2 years old the last time we came to the beach. He says he remembers some of it. It is wonderful to be five years old and on the beach. It is wonderful to be the mother of a five year old and be able to take him to the beach.
We took a walk, looked at shells and got our shorts splashed with sea water. My oldest took pictures of us and the beach with my iphone until my husband texted my phone to tell us, “dinner is ready”.
This morning I took my daughter and went for a power walk on the beach at 9am. I walked fast with my music and she took her time behind me and periodically, I would turn back to walk slowly with her for a while. I got my exercise and some time on the beach with my daughter. The last time we were at the beach, her enjoyment of the beach was intermingled with the torment of her anxiety disorder.
We then all went to the beach together. It was cloudy for the first hour or so and then the sun began to peek through the clouds. I was sitting in a beach chair when it made a valiant effort to shine through the heavy clouds and so I did a sun chant and within minutes, the clouds were clearing away to reveal the carolina blue sky. A sunny warm fall day on North Myrtle Beach with my family…all my dreams had come true.
Last year, my oldest made me a card for my birthday with a drawing of the beach including me standing on the beach as well as the whole family with a note stating that even though we didn’t get to go to the beach this year, he hoped my card could be a substitute. It was like my own vision card. I hung it up on the wall behind my lap top desk in our kitchen. I envisioned myself at the beach on my birthday for nearly a year.
My birthday is in two days. I planned this trip to be here on my birthday, something we did 4 years ago. And it just so happened to coincide with my oldest child’s fall break at community college where he takes classes as part of a dual enrollment program. And the stars aligned so that we didn’t need to come in two cars but all 5 of us are getting to enjoy 5 nights at a beach resort. I get to sit with a beach view and write.
Life is good.