We returned Saturday from our annual family beach week at Diamond Beach, New Jersey. Back in early winter husband Jerry studied the tides for late July and early August and based on the summer forecasts we went ahead and rented places for the last week in July. The tide study is very important for our beach loving, body surfing, wave riding family.
Of our nineteen grandchildren, sixteen were able to be with us for all or part of this very special beach time. When the children were younger everyone came to beach week but now with school and jobs and travels that’s no longer possible. We knew this day would come and we savor the time we do have together.
Four weeks ago the family came together for Emily and David’s wedding. The only ones missing were Augustine and his fiancee Rowen who are presently in Malaysia. The bride and groom could not join us for beach week because they had to return to California for the start of David’s post doc and Emily’s PHD internship. But they were with us in spirit. One day when we were all down on the beach and Emily and David were able to get away from work, they texted us from the beach in Santa Monica – we felt an instant beach communion with them.They just didn’t seem so far away.
This beach week we got a very special weather gift – something I had never seen before, something Jerry had never seen before. It is reflected in the picture above. I don’t know what to call it. According to wikipedia a rainbow is” a multicolored circular arc.” This was not an arc, it did not appear following a rainstorm. We were on the beach , enjoying a beautiful day when one of our group looked up and saw this weather treat. I don’t know how long it lasted – maybe five minutes, maybe ten – it was just awesome. We had several days when the dolphins put on a display for us. Maybe the skies just decided it was their turn to show off their beauty.
This is the first beach week that I did not actually go in the water. Perhaps the first summer in eighty -two years that I did not personally experience the glories of the ocean. My lower back and right leg decided to misbehave to the degree that just plain walking was difficult. Beloved family searched the web and granddaughter Annie found a shop about thirty minutes away that had a wheelchair capable of navigating the sandy beaches. We kept the wheelchair locked with the bikes in the parking garage. It was too bulky to fit in the elevator. I just had to walk from our unit to the elevator. And then one of the children or grandchildren would meet Jerry and me on the first floor with the wheel chair if we were heading to the beach. If we were all gathering in the outdoor lounge area of our hotel then Jerry and I took the elevator to the second floor and slowly walked to the lounge area. It was a little difficult but doable.
In the old days of beach week, when the children were smaller, each family took a turn providing dinner for all. This year we all gathered for pizza night in the second floor lounge. We also gathered there for dessert night: an incredible cheese cake with chocolate made by the master chef Jim and a very yummy birthday cake provided by Lane and honoring Joe and Alec’s birthdays. And we were also in the second floor outside lounge for our annual talent night. Grateful to our guitar players, our vocalists, our poet, our master of ceremonies- truly a very special night.
As we never really know what the future holds I with my walking difficulties was not sure how the beach week would unfold. Well it was unequivocally one of the best ever. I was so appreciative of the special times with each of our children and their families. I have a special health drink which I fix each morning for Jerry and myself. I forgot to pack a measuring cup. The powerful med which the doctor gave me to mitigate my lower back and leg pain made me a little loopy in the head – I didn’t feel confident without a measuring cup. Atar and Meg came each morning. The drink and the cereal which they created were so scrumptious. Loved having Jerry, Annie, Charlie and Lilly in our building. Their drop in visits were a special treat. The card games with the MacCurtin’s were challenging and fun. Lunch sandwiches by Paul were incredibly yummy. The chance to spend time with Joe, and Lane and Alec and Quinn and Elsa and Kiernan was a special blessing. Loved being able to have visit time with Jeremy and Amy and with Vaishnavi and Khushi, and Jim and Lisa and Meggie, Jimmy and Josh. A special thank you to Khushi for lining up the Cape May ferry for our trip home. And special hugs to Maura for staying on top of my doctor prescribed meds. The loopiness which they cause make me very aware of the need to check that I am staying on schedule.
Today I saw both the arthritis doctor – who happens to be a member of our golf club and a personal friend – and the pain management doctor/surgeon and got orders for a CT scan and an MRI. These tests will be the deciding factor in the need for surgery. I am so grateful that I was able to be part of beach week and to thoroughly enjoy our annual family gathering.