Sunday, September 2, 2007
Last Days of Summer
I haven't written anything since I returned from my trip. It is those bittersweet last days of summer, and my mind is occupied with all I have to do before school starts and how to make this transition smooth for the boys. We spend an idyllic summer at the beach, hardly returning at all to our home in "the city." We basically escape our regular life and lead a very child-centered, outdoor simple life. We don't do much we don't really want to do. We don't attend birthday parties, we don't meet friends for playdates (unless they come to the beach), we don't get in the car unless we really really need to. We don't work on our house, we don't worry about how clean the house is, we don't go shopping, we don't watch any TV. We don't get mail and we don't have a phone. We eat dinner out on our deck almost every night, something grilled with very few dishes to clean up. The boys wear a swimsuit most days and don't have to comb their hair. We spend a lot of family time, just being together without a lot of distractions. We play Uno and Sorry and read books together.
Sometimes I wonder if our summer is TOO idyllic. Re-entry into the school year is hard on all of us. We all have a hard time moving straight into the rigid structure and all the expectations. This year, the boys have decided: we can move to the beach permanently, they can be home-schooled, they can continued to have lots of time to skimboard. They really aren't ready to go back.
So over Labor Day weekend we wrap up our summer. We spend all day at the beach, we spend evenings on the deck with good friends, we shower outside, BBQ dinner, eat lunch at our favorite taqueria. My husband and I go for a PJ walk at 11:30 pm, they boys snoring away. I go for a night-time bike ride with a couple girlfriends, and smell the bonfires on the beach.. We savor the sand in our beds and getting out of bed only because we want to and not because we have to.
The truth is, I don't want summer to end any more than my kids. Sure, I look forward to the routine of school. But I will miss the unstructured days and the long stretches of being together.
But go back we must, to school and soccer and work and all of our various commitments. I can't help but wonder how I can keep some of the things we so love about summer. Each one of my boys, when asked their favorite thing about summer, will simply answer: the beach. They each love it, for different reasons. It is a place to be with friends or play by yourself, to chat the day away or bury yourself in a book. A place to burn every ounce of energy you posses or simply sit and build a sandcastle. It is a place to dig a big hole in which to play all day long. A place to be invigorated or to rest. A place to see pelicans, dolphins, the occasional gang member. A place to study the art of tattooing. You never know, there could be a wedding, a photo-shoot, or a fight. There can be a teenager smoking a joint or a lone man dancing hula to the beat of his own wave. It can be totally crowded, or utterly deserted, high tide or low, sand moved in this pattern or that. The magic of the ocean meeting the land is somehow never boring, and seems to melt away any worries or stress, leaving mind and body swept clean. It's a place where being yourself is exactly right.
It's also a place where I have two washers and two dryers and laundry is done faster than you can imagine.
We will all miss the beach desperately.