We are back in the downward slide to the end of summer after our annual beach trip. Our trip seemed to go by more-quickly than years past. Maybe it is because we are in the prime of boogie boarding, body surfing and swimming.
And this is actually my favorite photo from our trip of my four favorite people. It seems to encapsulate everything here and now.
My ponderings of the passage of time haven’t waned from what I wrote last week or months ago here, despite being put back into a certain degree of monotony that comes with laundry, auditing teeth brushing and cooking meals. I seem to be overly focused on time these days. Time is so predictable.
A picture taken a year apart – the same, yet different. Another ring of growth on the tree.
I have been reflecting upon when we were first married, when we brought home our first-born, when we barely survived bringing home the second and third, twins, with a toddler at home. Eons ago. At least it feels that way.
I think I need a hobby or maybe a job to keep my mind busy. 😉
And, obviously, we survived it all. While sleepily, it was easy in the grand scheme of things.
Every time we visit our house construction site, I’m in awe of the landscape change. The tiny house is long gone and this is now rising in its place.
The kids are already hanging out on the screened porch. 😉
I reflect on our time living concisely within 720 square feet of humble (and old) goodness. I somehow miss the oldness of it and its confinement for our family of five and our beloved dog (who is now in heaven). Now our little house feels the feet of someone else somewhere in the mountains of North Carolina – an elderly man.
Over a month ago, we drove an hour and half one-way to find our old house and give its new owner a housewarming basket full of tasty goodies and a handmade card, but we never found the house. I finally unpacked the basket last week and placed the items, intended for someone else, into our pantry. GPS doesn’t work there and these days maps are scarce. I’m not sure what to do with the card, hand drawn by my daughter (the black blob under his chin are shoulders – that is her signature mark in all of her pictures).
Now our new house is in frame. We walk like ghosts between the walls and the kids play garage soccer.
And, we cautiously avoid the diagonal two by fours that are straining to hold the house square and also the very large support beams in-place horizontally above our heads.
And, unlike all of the other time in my life, the time it is taking to construct our new home seems to be moving at a snail’s pace (although, so far our builder seems faster than many).
I try to remind myself that seven more months isn’t that long, especially as I stare at the tall skinny children before me. I secretly hope our builder will surprise us and have the house completed by Christmas. It’s par for my course to have slightly unrealistic expectations. I’ve even written about my unrealistic and delusional expectations before. While I think it is great and fun to have them – it can sometimes be disappointing if you don’t also offer yourself the more sober perspective of reality.
Because the reality is that we will hoist a Christmas tree into the little duplex that we are currently renting. Santa is already planning to leave gifts for the kids there too because he knows better.
I will try to encourage myself instead to think about how quickly the 15 months in the tiny house went by (in hind site). And, look how quickly the 15 months of not sleeping more than four hours through the night with two infants and a toddler went by (in hind site).
That’s the reality.
One day, while we were on vacation, there was a woman sitting beside me at the pool. On the other side of her lounged her 18 year old daughter. They were on one last mother-daughter trip before her daughter packs up and leaves for college. As the Mom spoke to me about it, and about her twin boys who are just one year behind the same phase, she weeped. Perhaps it was the wine, but I don’t think so.
She is in a different phase than me, but as we chatted my eyes grew misty about my own phase. Then again, I also recently cried when Smurfette ‘died’ in Smurfs: the Lost Village (sorry if I ruined it for you). Maybe that was just sympathy crying for my youngest, whose body was shaking, because he was sobbing so hard.
I really don’t know why I get misty-eyed when I think about the school year starting. And, if I put a reason into words, I can’t explain it well. If I try, this is all I can come up with: I think it’s because the milestones leave behind something intangible but through photographs and memories. A reminder of our mortality perhaps, for it is only the present where we can be and even that quickly morphs the future into the past. Second by second, which quickly adds up to years and years.
“This too shall pass” is often used to encourage one to forge through the tough times, but it is also a kind reminder that time doesn’t stand still. The long, skinny legs of my littles that run free and fast around the yard will be even longer and a little less skinny on their next lap.
But, when you step across the threshold into the future, there is the offer of a new phase and the promise of things to come.
This too shall pass. It shall pass into something new and great.
XO and Journey On!
The Origin of Going to the Beach
The beach has not always been a popular destination. As a matter of fact it has long been heralded as dangerous and wild. It wasn’t until the 18th century in Britain when the benefits of beach going seemed to outweigh the fear of its unrest and risk of drowning.
Contemporary doctors of the time believed that bathing in the cold sea could help various conditions, such as depression. Doctors would issue prescriptions detailing how their patients were to bathe in the ocean. Women often had helpers who would submerge them in the sea to execute the exact contact with the waves prescribed by the doctor, including holding their heads under the water.
The industrialization of Britain gradually sparked the desire of people to escape the business and grunginess of the cities. Eventually beach going became an activity amongst the British upper class, especially after the Prince of Wales (future King George IV) visited the shore to help his gout. The trend eventually spread and then became more accessible to the lower classes with the expansion of the railroad.
By the early 19th century, ocean resorts were popping up in France, Germany and Scandinavia and by the late 19th century they had spread to America. They started in New England and gradually spread south from there.
And now, about 60-70 million people (depending on the source) head to the beaches of the United States each year – possibly all because of some far-fetched cures for ailments in Britain a few centuries ago.