Today is the last day of our summer vacation with my daughter and her family. They come from Michigan for a week of beach time and family time once a year. My husband takes the time off from his stressful job as a college administrator, my engineer son-in-law puts aside his hectic schedule in the auto industry, my daughter leaves behind her role as driver of the Mom Mobile, ferrying her daughters back and forth from swim and gymnastic practices, orthodontist appointments, and numerous other tasks that take up her entire day, leaving her no time for herself, and I cease my worrying about trying to get yet another blog post off and replying to comments and e-mails. My daughter and her family come here to relax and regroup before returning to the exigencies of life that make up their lives the rest of the year.
An ominous black cloud hovers over the Oceanfront, the storm at sea making huge waves perfect for body surfing and boogie boarding. My daughter and nine-year-old granddaughter build a sand castle on the shore, but it is too close to the incoming tide, and the churning water ravages the walls like an angry marauder. They build another castle further from the water, but it, too, is swamped. Building sand castles takes the perfect balance of wetness to hold the sand together, but not so close to the ocean that the waves overwhelm it. Today is not a good day for sand castle building.
Tomorrow my daughter and her sweet family will take to the road again for the fourteen-hour drive home from Virginia Beach to Michigan. Monday morning their busy routines will begin again as will my husband’s. I will put the house back in order, pausing to hear the echoes of laughter that rang in our house this week. The secret, though, is to keep that balance in life, that summer spirit, not letting day-to-day living overwhelm us and destroy what we try so hard to build.