Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dear Sand


Dear Sand,

Since you are the highlight of our vacation, I decided to send my OCD away on its own vacation, and that is a Good Thing.

We are on a beach vacation, on the side of Lake Michigan where you can see the sunset over the water.  It's an absolutely breathtaking event.  On the lake, you get the total beach experience along with fresh and calmer waters, great for little ones who don't need the waves for surf-related activities.   

I am on vacation, and so is my OCD.  I am facing all the sand on the beach with a 'vacation' view.

I walk on the hot, fine sand and imagine it scrubbing away the old, dried skin on my heels.  I dig my feet into the dry sand and feel its warmth on my soles.  I walk onto the wet part of the beach and look forward to the water rushing and covering my feet, again, and again.  After each splash, I feel the water pull away the sand around the edges of my feet, and for a moment, I feel taller.  Then I sink down into the mushy, wet sand and my toes get a little buried, just enough to anchor my body in anticipation of the next wave.  And as the water washes off the sand on my toes, I shift my weight, replant my feet, and the process repeats. 

Even when I'm re-applying sunscreen on the beach, I imagine a luxurious sugar scrub that exfoliates the skin on my arms and legs, in the comfort and beauty of nature instead of an expensive, pretentious spa.

And by this point if you're laughing at me (because you know my history of OCD) and want to call my bluff--and I'm totally not bluffing--you should see my Dear Son on that beach.  My very particular little boy--who is usually bothered by the tiniest speck of dirt or grit anywhere on his body--is playing in the sand like he's Sandman himself.  He digs and scoops and shovels and brings pails of water to add to dry sand to mix and stir and pat and shape and make sandcastles and sandballs and a hole-big-enough-to-put-Daddy-in-it.  He even lays down--all on his own--to make sand angels.  Dear Husband and I look at each other and don't even recognize our own little DS.

There's something magical about the beach, indeed.

Even several years older than DS, Dear Daughter still enjoys playing with sand every bit as she did when she was a toddler.  Together with her little brother, she schemes to bury Daddy in the sand.  She experiments with different wetness of sand to make the best sandcastles, and uses dry sand as cooking condiments and wet sand as food on served up on a plate.  They've opened a restaurant and are busy serving its customers as cooks and waiters.

And they are completely in no need of us.  DH and I stand in the water and watch them from afar.  DD catches glimpses of us every now and then while she plays, and DS is pretty much totally oblivious of our whereabouts.  He just needs his shovel and pail and his Big Sis.

In the cool water on a beautifully perfect day for the beach, with the warm sun hitting our shoulders, we watch the kiddos play.  We feel the waves splash us from behind.  We feel our toes sink and lower into the earth.  We let the waves bob us to and fro.  The gentle breeze shoos away the heat on our skin, and we exhale.

Equally fun and unrelated to the beach, we encounter sand again on a sand dune ride, where a driver takes us up and down the sand dunes in a large, topless car that seats about 16 to 20 people.  The ride is fast, furious, and in parts like a roller coaster.  After the first high speed downward drop, DS looks at me, says 'Oooooooh yeeeaaaaahhhhh' and pumps his fist at the same time.  This little man who is scared of anything fast, bumpy, shaky, high, and unknown.  Huh.  Sand flies into our faces and none of us care.  That just does not happen.  The thrill of that ride completely overrides how we normally act when sand gets into our eyes and mouths.  It is amazing.  We are on vacation.  

We soak it all in.  The sun, the water, the sand, the air, the breeze.  We etch it in memory.  The anticipation, the excitement, the fun, the expected, the unexpected.  We place them all in the vault so we can reminisce The Beach come January when we're buried under a snowstorm.  Yes, we better get enough of this to last us until next Summer.  But now, we'll return home a little more relaxed, a bit grittier, and with a few more shades of sun-kissed color.  Just in time to anticipate the return of my OCD.

So, Dear Sand, you've been an unexpectedly welcomed part of this vacation, and I'm grateful for you.  So much so that I'm taking some of you home with me.  I just can't promise to look at you the same way when I do get home and have to do the laundry and see you spilled all over everywhere.  But for now, you are awesome.

Happy Summer!

Sincerely,
Me

22 comments:

  1. I am so glad to read this, Sandra!
    If you haven't figured this out by now, I am a beach girl all the way.

    Most of this goes way back to my "roots", as I was born and raised in a small beach town. I grew up in the sand, building sand castles, boogie boarding...when I was older, I could ride my bike to the beach. It was nights at the beach, hiding under the boardwalk, it was dating surfers, it was sitting alone with coffee, the sunrise, the quiet.

    I now live a bit over an hour from where I grew up, but I have discovered another beach we frequently day trip to as it is only a 45 minute drive. We drive home, sand stuck to our legs, tiny pieces of shells glistening on our arms, and yes, lots of vacuuming of my poor car.

    In fact, even being so close, I rent a beach house every other year, because there is nothing like waking up to the sounds of the ocean, nothing like just opening the door, walking a few steps, your toes in the warm SAND.
    I have several angles of OCD myself, but, like you, when it comes to sand, IT DOESN'T APPLY..
    I am glad you were able to let go for your vacay, so so glad.

    Love your pic in this post, also. Just lovely.
    Sorry for the short novel as comment. :}

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    1. Kim! Yes, I've figured your love for the beach by now ;). But I didn't know about your lifelong attachment to it, and now it all makes sense. The sounds of the ocean--yes! I love the sounds of waves splashing--and I actually forgot to include that (short on time and attention being on vacation and all)! And the picture? It had some help from PicMonkey, which is now my new favorite thing =) We had another lovely day at the beach today, and DS cried when we had to leave. I think this will definitely become a yearly sort of vacation now, yay!

      I love any kind of comment you leave me--short or long. And thank you so much!

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  2. Sounds like you've had a wonderful vacation! I used to live in California very close to the beach, and like you said...there's just something about the beach. My brother and I also made "food" in the sand and played for hours. :) By the way, I LOVE the picture! It's a framer!

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    1. Thanks so much, Cassie! I don't usually have the luxury of bumming around, but on the beach, it's the only thing to do! It's awesome to just be there and do nothing but enjoy the sun and the water. I took a bazillion pics, and this was the best one, so I'll have to take your advice and frame it.

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  3. Sounds like the perfect vacation to me... Enjoy it!!!

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    1. Thanks for reading, Susi! We have to soak it all up now, because unlike your area, winter is a total monster here. =)

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  4. There's no room for OCD on vacation - glad you left it at home! It sounds like you all are having a wonderful time. Sand does have a way of making itself unwelcome when it invites itself into the laundry. I hope you will forgive it, at least this once :)

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    1. Haha, Janna, I plan to put the beach stuff directly from its bag straight into the washer and let it take care of the sand. I really don't need to see it on my floor, you know what I mean? =) Thank you for reading! I'll have to catch up on all things bloggy when I get back on non-vacation track. ;)

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  5. I love this post. What fun for you - and it's amazing how things change and EVERYthing is better and more relaxed on vacation, isn't it? I'm jealous, as I'm ready for the beach at Lake Michigan myself. And for some Michigan blueberry picking :) Have (more) fun!

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    1. Alas, it's over, and we're back to reality. But it really WAS awesome. Lake Michigan is awesome (we went to three different beaches out there). AND we picked blueberries on our way home, so I'll be busy with a pie or two soon! Thanks, Michelle!

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  6. What a wonderful vacation. Truly vacating yourselves from everything, not just the day to day grind, but your worries and your stresses. That is definitely the way to do it. I love the way you describe the simplicity of letting go as a family and the enjoyment found within the beauty both from around you and from within.

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    1. Thank you, Nari! It was truly a wonderful vacation. We hope to hit the beach again, hopefully, closer to home before cooler weather hits. It would be hard to imagine having to wait another year for DS' sand play. (I'm so glad you dropped by!)

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  7. I'm with you--at the beach, the sand is beautiful, but in the car, not so much!

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    1. I think we managed to get a minimal amount of sand in the car--if that's possible--but I may still need to check with a vacuum cleaner! Thanks so much for stopping by, Asianmommy!

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  8. BEAUTIFUL picture! Glad to know your OCD took a vacay too :) I'd have a difficult time with that.

    My parents live near Lake Michigan. It's a beautiful area! My friends and I used to enjoy going there often as I was growing up.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Erin! Lake Michigan IS a gorgeous place, all around! But summers are valuable here since the winters are so brutal. I'm sure you're familiar with that part of the area, too?!

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  9. The beach is the best place to be!! I miss living near the ocean. The beaches i went to didn't have many waves and the smell of the sea salty air!!! uh! so good!! And searching for hermit crabs when the tide changed near sunset and the landscape of the homes surrounding the bay, wondering who lives there? Listening to all of the Boston accents or Irish ones. (Running from the beach when the biting flies came out) Driving home and picking up some clam cakes and chowder on the way, so unhealthy! So good!! So lucky. I miss that. The lake was great too because of the sand and cool water on a hot day, not to mention the beautiful dunes but being spoiled by the ocean makes you a beach snob. Shhh i don't mention any of this to the kids because we live in Illinois now!

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    1. Helen, I can see how you miss your old hood--it sounds very lovely! But, but, we have Lake Michigan! I think it's fabulous. Have you taken the boys there? We miss the downtown beaches, but the closer ones are probably better for kiddos. I've never had clam cakes--YUM!

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  10. This makes me want to rush back to the beach. In two weeks I'll get to see sand again!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Stacey! Have a great time in two weeks; as you know, sand has magical qualities that sweep us away!

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  11. Beautiful silhouette indeed! Love the sun beams and the sky color too! Love the kids of course and loved reading all about the benefits of sand ;). I kinda hate sand too but when I go to the beach later this month, I'll remember what you said and take some time to exfoliate!

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    1. Thank you, Lisa! You'll love it! Sand on the playground that gets tracked in the car and home is different from sand on the beach. On the beach, sand actually soothes and relaxes me (spoken by a true OCDer). It's almost magical! I hope you have a great vacation and a wonderfully relaxing time!

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