Summers in childhood were endless, but none so as endless as that first summer after a year of college. Holy cow. Three full months to work and play, or in my case, sneak in and out of boyfriends’ houses before dawn. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for looking the other way and accepting me as the legal adult I was, although I still had a lot to learn. Heck, I always will.
Even three months long would not be enough anymore. It wasn’t even becoming a parent that did it for me. It was becoming a parent twice over, and watching Des speed by the milestones I had already grown to expect from Scarlet. Of course they were different – at different times and paces – but I was already too far gone by that point. Time is a jerk. And if I thought that being a parent twice over was bad, then we got a puppy. Her life span is shorter than ours by a lot, so even though she’s only a year old, I’m well-versed in the ways of dog love and just how much dog time is also a jerk. To put it incredibly mildly.
Then the icing on the cake was Scarlet starting and finishing kindergarten in an anxious but fulfilling blink of an eye. Daycare and preschool were kinda awesome because I could just say, “Scarlet won’t be in school today because I’m taking her on my own mental health day whims to a museum.” No one would bat a blinking eye about that. Even her kindergarten teacher was kinda awesome when I mentioned we’d be going to Disney World for a full week. She said, “Eh, she’ll learn more there than in the classroom, won’t she?” Indeed. Also, kindergarten still had naptime, blankets and stuffed animals, so how much sleep could I really lose about her missing a week? Also, because of snow, she only missed 3.5 days of school in the long run.
Maybe it was Des turning three, Scarlet turning six and me turning.. 25. Let’s just go with 25. It was my first time having a three-year-old without another baby in the picture, so I could really drink in his three-year-old-ness. Boo, hiss. Maybe it was drinking in my not 25-ness. Maybe it was regretting ever, ever wishing time away, even though I still do it now because winter is a bigger jerk than time and I’m constantly calling it so, and it’s not that I wish I lived on a beach in a beach town forever.. It’s not that.. It’s that I wish I at least had the chance to always go forth to that beach in that beach town – year round. Calling my name. The winds and the waves, the ebbs and flows, the cruel and significant tides. I hate summer’s end.
It doesn’t matter how beautiful and luscious fall is – I get all that. I crave all that. And still, summer’s end. Even the thought of it had me mulling time, dog time, potty training time, three-year-old attitudes, birthdays, how July feels better than August, and that life isn’t a buffet 24/7. You can’t eat ice cream every day, if you want it to stay so special. You can’t live on the beach every day, if you want it to stay so special. You just have to breathe and enjoy and embrace what you DO have, and while it’s happening too, no other way around it. See it, feel it, touch it, heal it. Taste it and smell it too.
This story starts after the mulling and the long car ride, because I shook that shiz right off the second I stepped onto the beach house lawn – with it’s buoy and boat decorations. With it being the perfect place for a boy and girl to learn and grow:
At night, Scarlet and Cassidy went to a drive-in movie (!!!) and the grandparents went to see a play. So the aunt, the uncle, the Des and I went to see the sunset over the bay. It was a wash so we went and got ice cream instead. With sprinkles.
Two years ago, we took Scarlet to the Highland Light (lighthouse in Truro) but she was too small to climb to the top, so they gave us a coupon to take her back. Well it’s been on our minds ever since so we went back. I’m fairly certain she’s still too small for it, but no one said anything so up we went – the two of us. Cassidy took Des out to see the location the lighthouse had to be moved from – because erosion threatened to tumble it into the sea. We saw them from the top of the lighthouse – which Scarlet effortlessly climbed. I was wearing a long dress and carrying a camera so the small ladders were hard for me.
We all met at the bottom by the water and found out that Des and Cassidy had seen.. a WHALE jumping out of the water. People were talking so excitedly about it, and we only missed it by minutes. We waited and waited, but that whale and its tail swam away. Now a little known fact about me is that I used to feel about whales how I feel about moose. Whales are my second favorite animal, and I’ve had a magical whale watching experience, but they’re always still on my mind. I’ve never seen them from land either. Perhaps it wasn’t our day, so we went and had lunch at Moby Dick’s Restaurant – almost the same thing, right? Well, no, but the chowder was amazing. Perhaps there will be many more chances to see whales. Next time.
Maybe we’ll go back in late August or September. Maybe even October. Maybe we won’t reunite with the ocean until our annual Florida trip in 2016. Maybe there will be whale tails and tales then. Maybe it’s all waiting for us. Anything’s possible.