Dear Ocean, thank you once again for making me feel small beside your great waters…for the shells I carried in my hand every single day and the ones I carried back to my home. Every year I anticipate the serenity that only you can give. I not only anticipate it, I depend on it the other 360 days of the year. The week catapults from Saturday to Saturday and I spend the hours in between cherishing each and every moment – from sunrise in the mornings, the crashing of the waves during high and low tides, to the sunsets in the evening ended only by yet another walk under the stars.
This is the fifth year by the ocean for us and every single year that planning begins, I have new anticipations and expectations. Sometimes they come to pass, sometimes they don’t. Regardless of any plans that do not work out the way I had planned? I have yet to leave the sandy shoreline nothing less than thankful, blessed another year to share my happy place with those I love.
Whether it be a day trip or a week-long vacation, the ocean has always been a gathering place for me, a place that beams with laughter and joy just by being in its presence. A place of memories that go back to my teen years with my parents, special times that linger with the present day. It is also a place that rekindles our ties that get a little frayed during the year.
Family and friends gather with us when they can during our stay. It changes from year to year but the thing that never changes? those that come to be with us… come because they want to spend time with us, the ocean just happens to be an awesome backdrop for our laughter.
This year has been no exception since I have had cousins travel long distances to the same ocean and we were fortunate to live close enough to join them while they were there. Day trips with our friends and family have been awesome this year too. Friends that live in neighboring towns, took the time to join us for a day on the beach which always makes our time special every year. This year one of my brothers made a seven hour-long drive from Maryland just to be with us for a couple of days. I had told my brothers how much I wished to see our children enjoy the beach together at least once in my lifetime – preferably before they are all grown up. Another 360 days have come and gone without seeing them gather together again this year. Maybe one day.
As always, vacation week has to be the shortest week of the year, even on Island time. So what do we do? We take lots and lots of pictures, plan our time carefully and try to squeeze as much from it as possible. Our routine walks on the beach searching for treasure, browsing our favorite gift shops and of course, waiting for that perfect sunrise and sunset. The ocean never disappoints – not me anyway. I also know that not everyone loves it as much as I do… but I sure do get excited when I am able to share it alongside my friends and family. It may have seemed to others that we had people with us 24/7 on our vacation.. We didn’t. Whether it was meeting us for dinner.. or a day in the sun? Thank you…. for spending time with us. To our new friends we met in the parking lot? What a joy to laugh with you on the beach. It takes them four days of travel, which they have now done for 14 years.. says a lot about the island we have grown to love.
I am already looking forward to our next vacation and I have yet to unpack all of our belongings. There will be lots of sand to shake out of our bags and beach treasures to sort.. but the memories will last so much longer than the sand that I will continue to find for weeks. I am truly thankful for this past week. It is my hope that whether you find your place of serenity is at the beach or the mountains, or somewhere in between? find it. cherish it.
Dear Ocean…. I know you miss me already… I miss you too and to my family and friends… I love you as much as the waves in the sea.