A Time of Reflection
A time of reflection. That is what the summer is for me. I escape to the beach for weeks of relaxation. It is a diversion from my usual routine.
No set meal times. Packed lunches on the beach. Moon pies. Late dinners. Long walks along the shoreline. With or without company. A bathing suit covers my body all day. Flip flops replace my shoes.
I spend endless hours observing. Whispers abound.
I watch my children parent their own. The moment provides a time of reflection that transports me to an era when I was a young mother. I recall one summer when our young family enjoyed a week in Ocean City, Maryland with my in-laws. A simple second floor rental with no air conditioning in the 80’s housed us all. On the small wooden deck, my daughter Samantha stepped in a turkey roasting pan filled with water to rinse off the sand. Her red bathing suit hugged her tiny body. It seems like yesterday. Now, as Mimi, I treasure hours on the beach with my grandchildren.
My eyes and ears are drawn to random families on the beach. The creativity of other parents is amusing. “No that is not the ice cream bell. That is the vegetable bell. It is Tuesday.”
I recall my first beach treat as a young child. It was at my grandmother’s cottage, Trail’s End , in Point O’Woods, Connecticut. I picked out a strawberry shortcake ice cream bar on a stick. Then, I proudly gave the man in the white hat that read, Good Humor, my nickel. My tongue twitches with that memory.
Summertime tourists on the boardwalk provide me with immense entertainment. Seagulls grab french fries from unsuspecting teens. Cries for cotton candy and funnel cake erupt from children’s sunburned faces. Nearby, tired parents try to bypass the mini-golf’s electronic pirate hawking a chance at a free game. I never went to a boardwalk as a child. That memory card started with my own children.
Lazy summer days give me plenty of hours to reflect upon my life. Past. Present. And future. More years are behind me now than in front. I am grateful for my life. I grew up in a simpler time in a small town. Mistakes happened, but the consequences were not significant. Instead, they fortified my core. My confidence developed in baby steps in a safer time.
And now, I pause to look back and appreciate the place, the time, and station of life I was afforded. The small footprint I will leave behind when I move on is grounded in love and gratitude. Love for my family and gratitude for all of the gifts I was given, and the rewards I worked for.
“…that what is valuable must be earned or it’s bound to be squandered…” (from The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles)