It began as a side mention. It blossomed into one of the best weekends in memory. It ends with a whispered prayer. "God, let me have at least one more weekend there, like that, before I'm to the edge with desire for salt and sand." There are some stories best left to the ocean..kinda like Vegas. What happens on the beach, stays on the beach! The boyz and I had the car packed, the coolers loaded, and made it on the road only an hour later than I planned on Friday. By 2:30, we were in Wilmington and beginning the transfer of our stuff into the truck. A quick run to the grocery store while the first load of stuff, kids, dogs, and people were taken to the beach. Back to the house for the second load of stuff and then it was my turn to go! It's been many years since I've been on the beach in a truck and I forgot how awesome it feels. Driving down the beach with dunes on your left, the ocean on the right. A wave occasionally kissing the tires. Most of the stuff was set up by the time I got there and the boyz and I jumped in and set up our tents. The boyz set up pretty quickly and headed right back in the water while we popped tops and dropped into chairs. I'd guess 5:00 is when we were finally situated...just in time to see the tide coming in, the sun beginning it's slow journey down, and grills all around being fired up.
There is just something about the beach that makes hamburgers taste so much better. Maybe it's the sand! Angela and I took chairs down to the waters edge and watched the boyz play in the water. Nic and AJ made "sand angels" and then turned them into silly faces. Then began the handstand contest....Momma still wins those! As it began to get dark, we dragged the chairs back up and lit the fire. I should say, tried to light the fire. It took awhile but it eventually was burning bright and warm. Those moments of quiet, sitting next to a fire, hearing the ocean waves mixed with the sounds of a radio, wearing a bathing suit for pajamas, and listening to the conversations around me are times I will never forget. I guess that doesn't make sense....but it does to me. The quiet came from within me. The peace that I had been seeking. The fact that my soul was being soothed with every roll of a wave. Every pop of the fire. Every note from the radio. Every giggle from my babies. Every laugh from friends. As I crawled into my tent sleepy and warm I realized I still had two more days. What a wonderful feeling that was. I fell asleep to the sound of rain drops on my tent, the breeze blowing, and the waves crashing. The fact that I awoke soaking wet, freezing cold, and realizing it was 2 am and POURING rain into my tent was not as bad as it sounds. I just rolled over, found a dry piece of blanket, and fell back to sleep. As usual, I was awake shortly after 6 am and layed there listening to the rain continue. I managed to stay there until 7 when I couldn't take wet clothes any longer. I stayed up about an hour before giving up on the weather changing any time soon and went back to sleep until 10. By that point I would have killed for a cup of coffee! Instead, I was handed a beer. As dark as coffee, almost as warm, and very good.
By the time 11:00 rolled up, Angela, the boyz, and I were once again at waters edge. This time we were on the other side of the park. The boyz enjoyed finding shells, crabs, hermit crabs, and fish. The sun was out and it was getting hot! We stayed next to and in the water until almost 2 and then headed back to the campsite for lunch. Again, grilled pork chops taste so much better on the beach! Angela and Michael needed to run back to the house and the boyz and I were all sleepy. All of us fell asleep in chairs around the fire pit...I think I was asleep before they left. A 2 hour nap and then we were back in the water for the next few hours. As we walked back to the campsite, Angela and I decided we needed s'mores. Both of us covered in sand wearing shorts and bathing suits drove out to Food Lion. It felt weird to be half dressed, no make up, and sand covering my feet walking into a grocery store....until I realized that's how half the other shoppers looked! Of course Angela had to pee so I tagged along for the sheer pleasure of using a REAL bathroom. This is the part where I should mention that I washed my legs and feet off in the sink...I'm so glad no one came in and caught us with our feet up under the dryer laughing like crazy! On the drive back the only access road back onto the beach was beginning to flood with the tide coming in. Then came the fun part....driving back across the beach while watching the sunset and the water creep closer. I tell you....there is nothing like it. We got back to find the guys struggling to build the fire. Angela fixed it for them and we put shrimp on skewers and let them roast over the wood. The first one I ate wasn't what I was looking for. I took the next one, peeled it, sprayed it with butter, and roasted in the flames again. That one...yeah, that one was GOOD! Then came the fun part....s'mores. I think Nic managed to eat four! After everyone was sticky and full the boyz got very quiet. The next thing I knew, they were gone. I found them snoring in my tent! Their tent flooded worse than mine the night before. All their blankets and pillows were soaked along with the inside of the tent. I figured the three of us would be fine sleeping in my tent for the night. Boy was I wrong! Next time I'll sleep on the sand. Or in a chair. Or anywhere but inside a tent with two stinky, sweaty, snoring, mattress hogging, blanket stealing, boyz!! I woke up on the floor of the tent, halfway outside the opening, with only a pillow and someones elbow in my back. Blah! I was the only one awake for about an hour and I sat watching the sunrise. What a glorious morning. The ocean and the sunrise....all that was missing was a cup of coffee. By this morning, I was wishing and hoping for a cup! Michael and Gabe were the first ones up. AJ followed about 5 minutes later. As I sat there trying to decide where to start with the packing, Micheal asked if I wanted coffee. Without hesitation, I said yes! He told me if I helped load up as much as we could in the truck, we could run it to the house and get coffee. SOLD! Yes, I sold my labor for a cup of coffee. Don't judge me! I had that truck packed and ready in 20 minutes. It would have been faster except for trying to pack around sleeping people. We headed out under a beautiful and sunny sky. After unloading the truck at the house we hit Port City Java drive thru and headed back to the beach. As we turned onto the access road to the beach, a few raindrops fell. By the time the tires hit the beach it was thundering, lightening, and POURING! I felt so bad for Angela and the boyz as we had left them to finish breaking up camp and getting everything ready to load up. We pulled up to find cranky boyz (and Angela cause the boyz had been useless helping!) that looked like drowned rats. My boyz had not even begun to pack up our other tent, which also happened to be the only thing I hadn't worked on because Nic was still sleeping when I left. By the time I packed everything up and was breaking down the tent, the heavens had opened and I was soaked. We no sooner put the last of the stuff in the truck when the rain stopped and the sun came back. Dammit....isn't that the way it always goes?! The drive home was off and on rain and I dropped the boyz back off with their Dad and was home by 2:30. Just in time for it to rain pretty hard while I unpacked the car. Again....Dammit! I started the washer, washed the coolers, and headed for a shower. I swear it took two scrubbings to get the sand out of my hair and I'm fairly sure the hot water heater is still trying to refill. It was the most amazing weekend and I cannot wait to do it again! Sand, sun burn, dead cell phones, beer for breakfast, sand in my burger, shrimp on a fire, rainy nights, good friends, good music, and most of all....the soothing of my soul, ocean front!
I know I'm behind in posting this. I literally wrote it the day after we came back. So very much has gone on since then but I can say one thing for sure....that weekend was the beginning of many things. More than anything, the balm for my soul I had been craving. As I write this final paragraph, I'm in the middle of preparations for Florida (a week from today....EEEP!) and thinking ahead to another camping weekend if possible.
As always, a quote.... "Forget not that the Earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair." Khalil Gibran It is one of the most powerful quotes to me....Hmm, tat idea???