(not so) High Times

Below is the body of a recent letter I wrote to our Senator.  I wanted to post it so everyone could be aware of what is available out there for those who think they are running out of options.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

 

I am writing to you from Fayette County. I write concerning my daughter, a fourteen-year-old with profound special needs.

This letter is not meant to be a medical documentation, so I will spare you the details of her lifelong struggles. For the purpose of this letter, suffice it to say that she has severe epilepsy. Further, she has drug resistant epilepsy. She has anywhere from one to ten or more seizure per day. If she is standing when they strike, she falls, the result being that she is frequently bruised and bumped. The situation has degenerated over the past year to the point where she is required to wear a helmet and a gait belt while at school. She also has to be in her stroller or an adaptive chair for a large part of her day. Although this is for her safety, it is discouraging, because she has limited mobility as it is, and she needs to be walking as much as possible.

There is, however, hope. In the past months, I have studied the benefits of medical marijuana to individuals with various forms of drug resistant epilepsy (also called intractable, or refractory epilepsy.) I have also learned, with some disappointment, that West Virginia has not yet joined the more than twenty states who have put some sort of medical marijuana bill into place.

Must West Virginia always be at the back of the class? With the current administration’s insistence that healthcare for all is of the utmost importance, how can such an opportunity be overlooked? I have to sit here and watch as states all around us, even the Commonwealth of Virginia, put even the most basic laws into effect regarding medical marijuana use. Meanwhile, my daughter’s quality of life continues to diminish while I wait for everyone to get over the archaic notion that using marijuana medically, even in alternative forms such as oil and under the supervision of a physician, is “using drugs.”

I can tell you all about “using drugs.” My daughter, though just fourteen, uses more drugs than the Whites of Boone County. She has to have routine blood work to make sure the drugs aren’t reaching toxic levels in her body. What differentiates her, of course, is that her drugs are “legal.” Or, to put it another way, her drugs have gone through all the appropriate channels to line all of the appropriate pockets. What’s worse, even with all the drugs, she still has daily seizures.

Senator, what can we do about this? I don’t know your position yet on this issue. From what I can tell, it is just now coming to the forefront of our thinking in West Virginia, as I myself have only come by this knowledge over the past few months. Still, I say it’s well past time that we start looking into the future of caring for our most vulnerable citizens. My daughter, though limited, is as entitled to her dignity and quality of life as everyone. Our beautiful state should work in partnership with other states, not to mention the federal government, to make these types of options available to people in need.

I know there are no guarantees. Perhaps CBD oil (a form of medical marijuana) will not help my daughter’s seizures. Perhaps it will be like so many of the drugs that she has tried over the years, and will work for only a short while. However, I would like to be given the opportunity to find out, without having to break the law to do so.

I know you are but one man, but every forward movement requires that first push. Please, Senator Laird, consider helping make that first push. I am willing and able to help in any way possible. I hope to hear from you soon.

 

Sincerely,

Janice F. Bostic


 

 

The Split Second

I don’t know about where you live, but lately around here there seems to have been an increase in the number of child-related tragedies.

I won’t rehash them one by one.  They were depressing enough the first time around. Suffice it to say that some terrible, strange accidents have happened to some small children around the state.

Accidents aren’t really what this post is about, though.  What got me thinking was looking at and listening to some of the comments that people make about these tragic accidents.  Without fail, the parenting abilities of the parents involved with these accidents are always called into questions.  Sometimes people are downright cruel, saying that some people shouldn’t have children and that how idiots should be sterilized so they can’t reproduce.  You hear such mature, helpful advice as “hang them” and “arrest them for neglect.”

I have no doubt that some of the horrible things that happen to children are the result of bad parenting.  But then, these things aren’t really accidents, are they? What about the horrible things that happen that really are accidents? We are so quick to judge, so quick to pass sentence and shake our heads at these poor, foolish parents.

Haven’t we all been that foolish parent?

Nobody wants to admit it, but we have all had our less-than-stellar parenting moments.  The difference between me and the woman whose son died in a tragic accident is little more than pure luck.

Children are fast, and I don’t think any human on Earth can honestly say they are prepared for every possible danger scenario in the life of their child.  We try.  God knows we do.  We baby-proof and use car seats and door latches and we hover and wring our hands.  But sometimes stuff still happens, doesn’t it?

I know as the mother of two I’ve had some close calls.  One that stands out in my mind is the time my then two-year-old son found the switch that operated the automatic door we had so my sister could go in and out in her wheelchair.  The house was baby-proof.  But I noticed I didn’t hear my son, and when I went in search of him, I found him standing on the back porch looking through the door which had closed just as easily as it had opened.  He was so shocked that he had just stood there, and in reality, no more than a minute could have gone by, but what could have happened? What if, instead of stopping and looking back through the door, he had kept on trucking and went out to the road? Or down in the woods? Or, or, or, if, if, if.  I was lucky.  I grabbed him and mentally calculated the number of years that had been shaved off of my life, but that was it.  We were fine.

Another time, we were in DC seeing the sights.  We got on the elevator to go down to the Metro.  We were packed on there, and somehow I got shuffled behind my sister’s wheelchair.  My son was in front of her chair.  The door opened, and he stepped off.  For some reason, everyone else just sort of stood there.  The door started to slide shut, with me inside and my four-year-old son standing on the platform by himself.  I literally climbed over the back of my sister’s chair and hit the “door open” button.  Everyone shuffled off then, and I joined my child on the platform.  Yet another year or two off of the span of my life.  It could have gone down very differently, and been much worse.  Or, or, or, if, if, if.

So, what about you? Have you had those life-shortening, sphincter-tightening moments of parenthood? I know you have.  We all have. Go ahead, tell me about it.

I won’t judge.

 

 

 

Tear Jerkers (Sorry, Mr. Sparks)

I just watched a video which listed the biggest tear-jerker movies of all time.

I think movies based on Nicholas Sparks books made the list at least three times.  Maybe more.  I sort of lost interest about half way through.

We just can’t get enough of the sappy, drippy, romantic tragedies, can we? What is it? Maybe it’s the idea that love transcends tragedy, and exists even in spite of cancer and death and dementia.

Now, before any of you Sparks fans out there start planning my painful death, let me assure you, I think Mr. Sparks is a talented man. He knows how to tug on the heart strings.

But there are some of us (or at least me) who believe a real tear-jerker movie isn’t just sap from front to back and top to bottom.  It’s a movie that gets you.  It breaks your heart. And then someone gets stabbed in the eye with a sword.

Anyway, here are my nominations for the greatest tear-jerker movies of all time:

  • Last of the Mohicans. This  movie kills me.  Kills me.  It is a very violent movie at times, but it is also a wonderful story based on the book by James Fenimore Cooper.  The acting is top notch (we are talking about Daniel Day Lewis, after all) and there are true edge-of-your-seat moments.  It really hits the mark, though, because there are whole scenes with absolutely no dialogue. Guess what?  These are the scenes that are the most powerful and, yes, tear jerking.  Whole planets of emotion are shared between the characters with just eye contact, and of course the heart rending music in the background.
  • Cast Away. I bet you think I’m going to tell you I cried the most near the end, when Tom Hanks is getting ready to drive away and Helen Hunt comes running down the driveway in the rain (of course.) WRONG! Although that is a highly charged moment, the part of the movie that will crush you is when Tom Hanks loses his best friend.  That’s right–Wilson, the volleyball.  Wilson is tied onto the life raft, and he comes loose and starts drifting away before Tom realizes it, and then gets too far out of reach to be recovered.  Then we get to see Tom Hanks sobbing his heart out over a volleyball, and I sob right along with him.  Because it’s not really just Wilson he’s crying over, you know?  He’s crying because, well, everything. And that breaks your heart.
  • The Patriot. I can’t pinpoint one moment in this film, because it is brutal.  Let me just say, don’t get attached to too many characters in this film, because they drop like flies.  I will say the scene where Mel Gibson is leaving and his little girl runs after him and speaks to him for the first time in forever is over-the-top ugly-cry material.
  • Forrest Gump. You knew this one had to make the list, right?  Tom Hanks is brilliant, and this movie is all the proof needed to back up that statement.  How many times do I cry during this movie?  The Lord might know–I don’t.  Bubba dies, Lieutenant Dan has his “what am I gonna do now” moment, Momma dies, and let’s not forget when Forrest sees his son and wants to know if he is like him.  Then Jenny dies, and if you had any heart left, it gets destroyed by the whole “I miss you, Jenny” thing.
  • Braveheart.  I have never cried over any movie as  much as I cry over this one.  It would take a book to list all the tear-jerking scenes in this movie.  This movie uses the “no dialogue” technique, too.  When Murron is killed, and Mel Gibson leans over her right before they are going to bury her, he breathes in her scent like he did when she was still alive, and it’s almost too much to watch.  Then right before he dies, he sees Murron in the crowd walking toward him, and the music changes, and, and…..excuse me a minute, okay?

Okay, I’m better.  Sorry, but that one gets me every time.

So, what makes your list?  What movie rips out your heart?  And don’t worry if it is a Nicholas Sparks film.  I will only make fun of you a little.

 

The Thin Line

When you have little baby children, you think that things are very difficult.  You have to feed them, change them, and suck the boogers out of their noses with those little bulb things.  They cry and vomit and don’t sleep.  Life seems like one endless sucking maw of baby bodily fluids.  Oh, when will they grow up?

Then they become toddlers.  I’m far too tired this evening to recount the joys and horrors of raising toddlers.

Then they kind of go through a cool phase.  They get to be around, oh, seven or so, and from then up until around ten or eleven, or even twelve if you’re lucky, you get to interact with what appears to be an actual human being, in miniature form.  You do fun things together and talk about everything.  You are buddies.  You are best friends.  Furthermore, you are the coolest parent in the world.

Then they become teenagers.

Jack Sparrow Screaming

 

 

 

 

 

Suddenly, you find yourself looking back wistfully on those diaper changing days.  Needs of the body are easily met, but meeting the needs of the teenage mind is a problem that is unlikely to ever be solved.

My son is fifteen years old.  I know the child I gave birth to is in there somewhere, but some days I wonder if that little boy hasn’t been replaced by some alien from Planet Attitude.

Teenagers know everything. I mean, when did I miss the class in middle school that taught literally every thing about every topic and every possible scenario in the history of mankind?  Because teenagers certainly seem to know it.  They can argue about anything. They can argue with you if you tell them it’s raining outside.

Now I am starting to run into the real difficulties of raising teenagers.  Sure they are obnoxious and know-it-all and they never listen and the eye rolling thing, oh LORD don’t get me started on the eye rolling thing, and they are so dramatic that they could give acting lessons to soap opera stars, and they think their lives are just so tragic and no one understands them and their parents are totally lame and old and —–

Whew!

Sorry, I got carried away there.

My point, in case you forgot, was that raising a teenager has to be the most difficult parenting stage, hands down. The issue that I have been struggling with lately is privacy.

I’m an advocate for privacy.  I love my own.  I want my son to be able to have his space and set his boundaries and know that no one is messing in his personal business.  I can truly see it from that point of view.  It’s part of treating our children like adults.

But…….

Where is that line?  I want my son to be responsible and be able to have his personal space, but I cannot allow myself to forget that this is a fifteen year old boy that I am talking about! His decision-making capability at this stage is right on par with that of a hamster, or maybe a really smart potato.  I’m not singling him out!  I’ve known his friends since they started kindergarten, and they are all the same.  Remember when I said I thought maybe they had been abducted by aliens from planet attitude?  Actually, I think they have been abducted by Hormones, and the Hormones don’t care about consequences or mistakes or grades or anything like the future.  The Hormones care about one basic topic–sex–with many sub-topics, such as jokes, tv, games, videos, movies, all related to the main topic, which was, in case you forgot, sex.

So, what do you do?  Do you read all the texts?  Do you stalk the email and the Facebook pages? Do you snoop in drawers? Do you hire private detectives to track your child’s every move? (Just kidding.) ((Sort of.))

Help me, dear readers.  How far is too far?  My job is to be his parent, and I am going to push into those boundaries all the time, much to my son’s distress.  At what point do I officially become a stalker?

I’m all ears.

 


 

 

The (not so) Skinny

I’m fat.

I’ve always heard that the first step in dealing with a problem is admitting you have one, so there you go.  I said it.  I’m fat.  Obese.  Portly.  Robust.  Chubby.  Rotund.  Chunky. Round. Not thin.

You get the picture.

I’ve never been what one would call a “skinny” person.  Certainly I’ve never fit into the modern ideal of how a woman should look.  I have always had a comfortable, pack mule type build.  Short, strong, and dependable.  Not ideal, but useful.

At any rate, the pack mule has been packing on the pounds.  It’s depressing.  The simple fact is, my metabolism has become my enemy.  The things I used to be able to get away with now seemingly add pounds and inches almost instantaneously.  I can eat an order of fries, and if I’m very quiet, I can actually hear the fat cell orgy that is going on in my thighs.  Those little suckers multiply by the thousands, by the millions, and they are nearly impossible to kill.

Not that I’ve tried all that hard.

The truth is, I never worked up enough care to do much about my physical appearance.  The years go by, you get a little older, a little slower, and a little squishy around the middle.  That’s life, right?  For me, though, the years have gone by, and the fat has sneakily appeared. At first, I thought the changing temperature and humidity in my closet was causing my clothing to shrink.  Then I noticed only my clothes were shrinking.  Huh.  I had to buy a bigger size, then a bigger one, until I have now finally reached the point where, if I don’t do something, I’ll just have to convert a king size sheet into a toga and wear that.

That’s not the worst part.

The worst part is that I also recently got a lecture from my doctor about a bunch of scary terms like “HDL” and “LDL” and “blood pressure” and God knows what else.  I finally had to take action.

So I went to McDonald’s.

Ha ha, just kidding.  What I really did was join a gym.  Really.  I also gave up sweets, soda, and, horror of horrors, smoking.  So, in short, my life sucks now. Ha ha! Another joke! See how humorous I’m feeling?

Britney Spears crying

I’ve never been a member of a gym before. It’s hard to pretend you know what you are doing when, in fact, you are trying to use your legs for the chest press.  Anyway, the treadmill seemed like a safe option, so that’s where I spend a lot of my gym time.  Treadmill time is sssslllloooooooowwww time, so I have a lot of time to reflect, while trying to pretend like I’m not about ready to drop dead from a heart attack.

That’s really the biggest challenge to the whole gym thing, isn’t it?  Pretending we are already in shape? Obviously, I am at the gym because the only shape I’m in is round, but why is everyone there smaller and in better shape than me?!  They run on the treadmill.  They toss free weights around as though they (the weights) were made of paper mache.  And over here I am, praying to God I don’t have some sort of bowel-related incident while trying to leg lift 25 pounds.

It’s hard not to be discouraged.

Also, I think about food a lot.  Like, a lot.  Our entire culture pretty much revolves around food.  Did you ever notice?  Every family gathering, from weddings to funerals and everything in between, is somehow focused on food.  I’m not talking about health food either.  When was the last time you took tofu and watercress to a family reunion?  In addition to constantly having food, the amount we eat is ridiculous.  We aren’t satisfied until we have eaten enough food to test the limits of the most forgiving elastic waistband.  We may actually reach a point where we have eaten so much food we are no longer able to hold ourselves in a vertical position, but we would ask, from the floor where are laying, what’s for dessert.

So, I’m missing food, and I’m exercising.  I’m also trying to do things to keep my mind and hands busy, such as work on this blog faithfully again.  But for now I’m going to take a break.

I’m hungry.

A Random (hopeful) Return

Greetings, dear reader.

Having a blog is a lot of fun.  It also hurts.  It’s there, stuck in your mind like a piece of popcorn stuck in your teeth, “I need to do a blog post.  How long has it been?  Boy, I really need to do a blog post.” And so on.

But what I’ve found is that you can’t force it.  Well, you can, but then it sucks, so what’s the point?  I suppose some people would argue that forced writing is better than no writing at all.  They would be wrong.

Anyway, I decided that since I don’t a have a great idea for one good post, I will share with you some random musings from the past few days.

  • If we are ever faced with an invasion on American soil, I believe my cat, Mason, could stop it single-handedly (single pawedly?) He has perfected the art of the “running leg bump.” As you are walking along, he flies by you, silently, and bumps into your leg.  He does this in such a way that he collides with the leg that is in the process of stepping, so he doesn’t technically knock you down, he just throws you completely off-balance and causes you to do that ridiculous stumble thing, you know the one, where you would have been better off if you had just fallen.  Anyway, any land forces wouldn’t stand a chance.  They’d retreat to their home country (or possibly Canada) swearing and re-adjusting all of their equipment.
  • I find it difficult to believe that we, as a nation, have not found a viable purpose for drier lint.  I mean, think about it.  Drier lint is basically the chewed up remains of our clothing, right?  I have a trash can beside my washer and drier, and it is full to the top of drier lint. That’s enough stuff to get at least a couple of articles of clothing, right?  At least some socks? Anybody?
  • I sat in a restaurant today and listened to the lady sitting behind us lament at the state of her daughter’s marriage.  The gist of her whole diatribe was that her son-in-law is an ass and her daughter is a saint.  At one point she said, and I swear this is true, “He wants her to be the little Suzy Housewife and stay home all day and take care of the kids and cook and clean.  My daughter wants more out of her life than that.” Since it isn’t my forte to yell at people in restaurants (unless they really, really deserve it) I let it pass.  But it really chapped my ass.  First of all, I am a housewife, I guess.  I assume I am, based on the cultural definition.  My name isn’t Suzy.  Also, I think my life is pretty full, and furthermore, I like my life.  I don’t fit any mold or definition that I’m aware of, and to hear another woman say that was very disappointing, though not all that surprising, which brings me to my next topic:
  • What in the hell has happened to feminism?  In my college days I considered myself a feminist, but dear Lord, not now.  Apparently being a feminist means I have to show my boobs to people and go naked into a church.  I’m not sure how this shows that women are intelligent and worthy of the same opportunities as men, but whatever.  Maybe I’ve missed too many meetings to speak intelligently on the subject.  To my way of thinking, walking down the street naked would do the opposite of making people take me seriously.  Also, I don’t think I qualify anymore because I think it’s okay if a woman wants to stay home and take care of her family, and I think it’s okay if she doesn’t.  Back when I was a feminist (approximately 200 years ago) it was about equality and safety and opportunities, not about boobs.  I am more than a walking, talking vagina, and if Ashley Judd is the best spokesperson we can come up with, boy are we in trouble.

That was fun, right?

I’ve missed you all, and I hope maybe you’ve missed me, too.  It’s time to go do my Suzy Housewife-ly duties, and maybe take a walk.  I’ll be on the lookout for the cat.


 

Like A Boss

Here, as a half hearted attempt at a comeback, is the very first mildly inappropriate joke I learned as a child.  I found it on a sheet of paper someone had given my grandfather years and years ago.  And so I offer you…….

 

On the day God created humans, all of the parts of the human body began to argue about which one should be the boss of the new operation.  Brain spoke up first.
“Obviously, I should be the boss,” said Brain. “I already run the show.  All of you can only do what I tell you to do anyway.”

But others were not so convinced.  Heart spoke next.     “Hold on, Brain.” said Heart. “You have power, it’s true, but you can’t even begin to function without the work that I do.  Without the blood I pump to you, you would die.”

Not to be outdone, Eyes piped in with their part.     “Without us you are blind!” they cried.  “We are literally your windows to this world.  You are lost without us.”

Finally, Legs had their say.     “We carry all of you!  Without us, the whole lot of you would be stuck,” they said.

And so, a heated argument began between the different parts of the body over who should be boss.  Over the din, a voice called out, “Hey! HEY! What about me?  I want to be the boss!”

It was Asshole.

After a moment of thunderstruck silence, the other parts of the body began to laugh hysterically, nearly collapsing the whole body in their mirth.

“You?!” cried Brain.  “You are an asshole. You can never be the boss! Imagine it!  An asshole as boss!” And off the parts of the body went again in their hysterical laughter.

Well, Asshole was so offended, so affronted, that he closed up.

At first, no one thought much of it.

But then, as time went by, the parts of the body began to notice they didn’t feel so well.  Legs were tired and weak.  They were having trouble holding up the other parts of the body.  Eyes couldn’t focus and were weary and droopy.  As more time passed, and Asshole stayed closed up, Heart began to beat heavily, sometimes skipping a beat because of the body’s general misery.  And, of course, Brain wasn’t doing so well either.  More and more time passed, and still Asshole was closed.  Brain began to be foggy and forget things.  He couldn’t think or focus make the other body parts work correctly.

Finally, the parts of the body had had enough.

“FINE!” cried Brain.  “Fine, Asshole, you are the boss!  Just please, please open back up.  You’re awesome, Asshole, we love you and we’d love for you to be our boss!”

And so it was that Asshole became boss of the human body.

The moral of the story is: You don’t have to be a brain to be the boss; just an asshole.

Share this with your boss!

Thank you and good night!

 


 

Time (not just a song by Pink Floyd)

I remember reading in a book once, though it escapes me just which one, that time is a very plastic thing, almost subjective, and to be honest, I never gave it much thought.

But boy is it.

I remember when I was a kid, especially a teenager, I thought time would never pass.  I mean, like, NEVER.  Remember? Remember how you were waiting for something to happen, just anything, and you thought it never would, that would just be stuck in whatever crappy thing you were in at the time?  You never thought about getting older, because you couldn’t even conceive of it–being old! Being thirty!

And now it isn’t like that anymore.  I’m well past thirty and time doesn’t pass in seconds, or even minutes or hours, but big hunks that slip by me while I’m not looking, while I’m attending the minutiae that is my life.  Don’t get me wrong–the plasticity of time is still in evidence.  When my daughter had surgery, I sat in that room, and I could almost feel the time weighing on me, pressing me into that awful plastic chair, holding me there until I couldn’t breathe.  I’d read for what felt like hours, then look up to see that five minutes had passed.  Then, later, after it was done, I was so scared to bring her home, so scared I couldn’t take care of her, and the doctor was cheerfully announcing that she was discharged! I thought, “Already?”

Then there’s the kids themselves.  I looked at vacation pictures last night, vacations that are still crystal clear in my memory, and the kids are tiny–I’m holding my daughter on my hip! My son is a gap-toothed little fellow smiling brazenly up at the camera.  Now, he’s looking down at me from unbelievable heights and my daughter can just about hold me on her hip.  I can remember with such clarity being pregnant–so young and green and scared.  So much seems to have happened, but when did it happen? How did it happen?

I have no idea.

There is another big example: this blog.  A month has passed since I wrote a word, and that was only shameless promotion of my mediocre jewelry work.  But it doesn’t feel like a month.  When I looked at that date, I couldn’t believe it.  Of course the other tragic event that has already come back around is Christmas, but it gives me a cold chill just to think about that, so we’ll let that one slide for now.

Do all of you feel this way too?  Like, how did we get so old?  (By not dying, right?) Seriously, I pass a mirror and just about scare myself into a heart attack. Plus, I look old! (Ha ha!)  I have been genetically blessed to still not have any gray hair, but the years are showing.  I see pictures of my young self, and I look so carefree.  And that’s the secret, isn’t it?  We know now what we didn’t know then, and it has taken its toll.  All of those fears and worries of our parents that we scoffed at are only too real now, hanging on us and weighing us down

If you aren’t depressed enough yet, here’s another thought for you: “The Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd came out forty years ago. FORTY YEARS! To some of you this may mean nothing, but some of you just teared up a little.  Admit–it’s okay.  I won’t think any less of you.

So time is passing, liquid, plastic time, my kids are growing up too fast, and I’m getting too old.  The key is not to miss it–hang on to it with both hands, my friends, and never let go.  Now excuse me–I’ve got to go check for gray hair.

*******For those of you who will greatly appreciate it, here is the song “Time” by Pink Floyd, one of my favorites, and some of my favorite lyrics.  Enjoy!

 

And then one day you find, ten years have got behind you.  No one told you when to run; you missed the starting gun…..”

 


 

Shameless Promotion

I’m about to do some of it!

In an effort to increase the cash flow up in here (and to keep my hands and mind busy) I’ve been piddling around making some jewelry.  Rather than jump in whole hog and get my own website, I decided to join Etsy!  So, in a shameless act of self-promotion, I’m providing you with the link to my Etsy shop, where you can browse all of my wonderful pieces and hopefully spend some of your wonderful money!  Extra love for anyone who wants to spread the word!

Drum roll please……..

 

Click it, love it, spread it, shop it!  I will be forever grateful!

 

(Note–all proceeds go to support my jewelry making habit.)


 

 

The End of the Ocean

I love the beach.

Simple enough statement, that.  I mean, lots of people love the beach, right?  Heaven knows thousands of people flock there each year for vacation.  We used to go from time to time.  The time between time to time got a little longer, then a little longer, and the next thing we knew, we hadn’t been in years.  So this year I decided we were going.

My husband does not love the beach.  I think to him, the beach is basically like playing in a giant sandbox with a million other people while someone periodically throws salt water in your face.  And it’s true–sand everywhere.  Sand in your pockets, in your car, in your hair, in your ears, in your……well, never mind.  The point is, it gets everywhere.

But oh, I love it.

Where we went, and that this time of year, there was no one.  But that doesn’t even matter to me.  I love the whole thing.  There’s the excitement that builds in the days before you leave.  Then the day of, you are up at dawn to get on the road.  And as you are driving, and you get close, you can roll down your window and smell the salty smell on the air.  Then you are there, and life takes on a different tone.  My sister-in-law summed it up perfectly–no pressure. Life is slower, even if you are running the whole time.  Then there’s the ocean itself, ceaselessly talking, talking, talking, telling you to forget your worries, relax, just breathe. 

Just breathe.

We watched the sun rise, and we watched it set.  We sat on the beach.  We wandered.  We shopped a little, ate a lot, and sat out on the deck.  It was windy and maybe a little too cool on some days, but still perfect.  (Note: okay, maybe not completely perfect.  For example, there was a path behind our house which allegedly led to the beach.  I should have been suspicious, because it had one of those haunted-house-type signs in the shape of an arrow that said “beach” in faded, nearly-illegible letters.  The path seemed little used, but like most of the morons in horror movies, we took off down it just the same.  We never made it to the beach, but we did manage to find several nuclear-power-plant sized spiders who built their webs across the path, and a vicious little cactus that attacked both my son and my mother-in-law and forced us to flee back to our house and perform first aid and drink wine to calm our (my) nerves.) But my sister-in-law is right–there was no pressure.  No appointments and no chores and none of the mundane crap that makes up our lives.  We just enjoyed ourselves, and felt happy.

And I felt myself telling the ocean goodbye.

I’m a little older, a little slower.  It takes more planning and coordination for us to go to the beach than was necessary on D-Day.  All of the caretaking is still required, just without the comforts of home.  The balance has shifted just slightly, just enough to make me feel like the work required to get there is more than the rewards of the trip itself.  Believe me, I never thought I’d hear myself saying it, but my heart whispered it to me as we drove home this weekend.  I felt myself driving away from more than just a place.  It felt like I was driving away from a part of my life.  I hope it was just a fit of melancholy, but I wonder.

I wonder…….

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