Archive for October, 2012

Every year – well, most years – we make a pilgrimage to the beach.  This usually coincides with Spawn’s fall school break, and it is much-anticipated by all of us, for a variety of reasons.  For Spawn, it’s a week off from school.  We could go to the dump for a week and the kid would be positively thrilled about it.  For my husband, it’s the promise of all the golf he can handle.  For me, it’s the absence of a routine.  Really, a break from the constant go-go-go to tutoring and lessons and activities and doctors appointments and the like is by far the best reason to take a vacation.  To heck with golf.

October is in my opinion the best month to go to the beach.  The weather is perfect and the crowds are pretty thin.  Snowbirds haven’t yet flocked south and clogged up the roads and stores.  The majority of the people on the beach in October, at least where we go, are visitors from overseas, which adds a nice international flavor to things.  You can get into a restaurant pretty easily.  And there is always a seat at the tiki bar.  Long live the tiki bar.

This year we planned to spend two days on the beach and accordingly booked a hotel right across the street from the beach.  (Sidebar:  another great thing about October at the beach is that the hotel rates are much lower.)  It got us out of my aunt and uncle’s way for a couple of days (since our m.o. is to go somewhere where we know someone and save some serious cash by crashing at their place — yes I know we’re in our 40’s and should be out of the crash pad business but old habits are hard to break if you have no desire to break them) and gave us a chance to all hang out together for a while.  My husband had been working insane hours for the 8 weeks prior to our trip and had only been home a total of 8 days in those 8 weeks.  Not, however, that we had much of a chance to miss him — Spawn’s and my schedule was pretty insane, too.

So it was with a great anticipation we unloaded the rental car of all our beach gear and traipsed across the street, set up the umbrella and chairs, applied sunscreen, and settled in.  Spawn and my husband ran out into the waves while I sat in my chair, took a deep breath, and let all the tension go.  I could feel my shoulders start to relax, dropping down from their clenched position up around my ears.  I dug my feet into the warm sand and admired my pedicure.

Eventually I was coaxed into the water, where Spawn and my husband were enjoying a rather hefty sandbar, and was enjoying the warm salty water and the movement of the waves while Spawn dug around in the sandbar.  And then, Spawn let out a yelp and came up with a bloody arm.  The kid sliced open an arm on a conch shell.

Let me tell you that if you have to find a doctor’s office in a strange city, it can be done, and quickly.  And you will walk a mile in the sun and in a wet swimsuit with sand up your ass, too.

After an hour’s worth of hysterics, during which the kid was adamant that the cut did NOT hurt, the doctor finally made it in to see us and assured Spawn that the cut wasn’t going to need stitches.  They closed the cut up with a series of steri-strips and sent us on our way with a script for antibiotics, and that effectively ended any plans we had for further fun in the ocean.

My shoulders returned to their original position up around my ears.

Six hours at the beach and that was the extent of my enjoyment of it all.

I returned home several days later feeling a little gypped.

The weather here in Podunk has gone south, and rather quickly, and I don’t even have my memories to keep me warm.


— Mox

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Things are unfair, y’all.

A month ago, I posted about a family preparing to lose their son to a rare form of cancer, which had invaded his brain.  And as a month has gone by, the parents are still preparing themselves for this horrible thing.  Which is worse, a young person dying quickly, or a young person dying slowly?  Is there not grief and agony either way?

A little closer to home, a family in Spawn’s school is reeling from grief today, for much the same reason.  And as much as the first story stabs at my heart, this one is particularly painful because of the proximity.  And because I am trying to find the words to help Spawn understand why and how an 11-year-old boy can die from a brain tumor.  The how part is actually pretty easy, because hard facts and science are on my side.  The why is much trickier, particularly since it involves the inconsistencies endemic to theology — why does God let these things happen, isn’t God in the miracles business, doesn’t God have the power to do anything He wants, etc.

And we go to a Catholic school.  I am ill-equipped for this.  Someone call a priest, stat!

I can talk about the family in the first story with some objectivity, since what I know is derived from information posted on Facebook.  I don’t personally know them.  But objectivity flies out the window in this second case, because this boy was in the grade below Spawn, he had triplet siblings, Spawn knows the family, I sent Spawn’s hand-me-downs to the family when the kids were babies.  How can I be objective about this?

In the midst of the regular chaos that reigns at our house most days, I’ve stopped numerous times and thought about that family, what their house must feel like right now.  I’ve reached out and hugged my kid, tightly, even though we’re at the point where all that mushy stuff is pretty much verboten.  Spawn has allowed it.  I suspect the kid needs it as much as I do.

I can pretty well say that in the grand scheme of things, it matters very little that I’m late on my car payment, that Spawn has a D in Spelling, that my house is a wreck, and that we’re nearly out of toilet paper.  All of these things will get resolved one way or another, and will likely reoccur.

I keep thinking there is a lesson in all of this, but I’ll be damned if I can tell you what it is right now.

— Mox

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