low tide, high hearts

There were nineteen of us sharing two houses along the Lake Michigan shore last week, so many people using the same showers that the bath mats never had a chance to dry and the refrigerator door may have been open more than it was shut.  So many adults parenting that possessive pronouns lost their punch, and while another father fed our boys we grabbed whatever little hand needed holding down the steps to the sand.

The days poured honey-sun down backsides and left pink kisses on cheeks, the lake winking behind.  At the beach the children seemed very much like labradors, interested in sticks and rocks and running and digging, wild energy to spare.  Enough, in fact, to manage staying up late to watch the sunset, standing with binoculars till all the light bled from the sky.  And while our preference may have been for a little more downtime, we found short-lived relaxation and adult conversation in the wee hours.  Rolling into bed, the big boys smelled like beer and bourbon and the ghost of good cigars, and at breakfast everybody’s pajamas held the aroma of last night's campfire and that morning's bacon.

Traveling with small children can feel kind of like a nightmare, but the alternative is really boring.  We take the kids places so they can see things that belong to everyone and yet to no one, where each small pebble and slice of bark, every smooth piece of sea glass and slim green leaf are treasures to be appreciated and preserved.  So they can imagine a world much bigger and infinitely more beautiful than they already know.  We take the kids on trips with friends so they can bond while they bunk together, the sky too bright with stars to even think about sleeping.  So they can spend hours filling pails with rocks to bring home, getting rid of Michigan one bucket at a time, as Uncle Cory calls it.  And so they can fill their hearts with fond memories, so they learn to see greatness not just in the grand and glorious, but in tiny grains of sand and in the grins of their favorite once-in-awhile friends.


rht said...

Uncle Cory is brilliant! Thanks for sharing sooo many great captured moments, and for saving the best for last!

Linda K. said...

Good times......good memories!

Poppy John said...

Jenni Baby,

I showed the (wonderful!) pictures to Matthew "the magical water dog"...and he wants to go next year. Ask the boys if that's okay.