Tuesday, July 17, 2012
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.