Rain and wind are whipping around outside my window. Here in the DC metro area, we’re not even expected to feel the worst of Ms. Irene’s wrath. Or so say the folks we’ve been watching on the weather channel for 24 hours now. But I’m praying for family and friends to our North and East. Hope you are all cozy in safe spaces.
So far, we’ve been enjoying this soggy day as best we can. Baby and I made cookies this morning and I’ve got a list of rainy day activities ready for when she wakes up.
But while she naps, I’ll daydream about last Saturday.
What a difference a week makes. Last Saturday we were preparing for a week at the beach. M ran errands while Baby and I packed. But eventually the sunshine and blue skies beckoned too loudly to ignore. So Baby and I took a break from packing and headed outside for a walk, cameras in hand.
Thank goodness we thought to bring our cameras because a couple of blocks away we encountered a beautiful, large, white horse.
Now, we live on a quiet dead-end street in what is technically a suburb. But two blocks away is a rather urban setting – blocks of restaurants, shops, and subway stations. So it is truly a special thing to see a horse sauntering down the street.
I’m not sure Baby appreciated the absurdity of seeing a horse like this in our neighborhood but the magic wasn’t lost on me.
Our walk eventually took us to a nearby hotel that was bustling with women dressed in fancy saris and little girls twirling in beautiful vibrant dresses, their foreheads adorned with bindis. Turns out that the horse was just waiting for a big Indian wedding to begin. As we walked home, we saw him again, getting dressed for the ceremony. The sound of the wedding procession filled the air as we ate lunch. You could feel the excitement. It was the perfect start to vacation.
The next morning, we began our journey at 3am. Our strategy for long car rides with Baby is to maximize the time she should be asleep. Sometimes it fails fabulously. This time, however, it worked wonders. She promptly feel back to sleep in the car and snoozed for the first 4 hours of the journey.
Within an hour of arrival, Baby and I had both changed into our swim suits and were floating happily in the pool. Over the next three days, I ignored my phone. I didn’t check email, read the news, or connect at all with the outside world. Seriously – Baby and I didn’t even put on shoes until Monday night when we all decided to go out for dinner (stupid no shoes-no service). It was heavenly. I played with Baby. I caught up with my Aunt and Uncle. I watched Baby play with my Mom and sister and bond with my Aunt, Uncle, and Dad. I enjoyed single tasking and living wholly in the moment and forgetting about work and to-dos and career and stress. Seriously, even doing laundry is not so bad when you are on vacation.
And then the EARTH SHOOK.
A 5.8 earthquake struck Mineral, VA. The first quake of that magnitude to hit the east coast in nearly 70 years. It was noticeably felt as far north as New York and as far south as South Carolina. Laying poolside at the time, I didn’t notice it, but M was inside and felt the house shake.
Phone calls started to filter in from friends and family checking on our safety. Confused and curious, we crowded around the TV. My first connection to the world in days – a 24 hour news channel covering the quake. The scroll at the bottom of the screen alternated between details about the quake and warnings about Hurricane Irene, still hundreds of miles south of us but poised to directly hit the Outer Banks later in the week.
Where we were, though, the sun was still shining. The skies were a perfect shade of blue. And the ground was still. So, with nothing more to do, we headed back out to the pool, pretending we had not a care in the world. It was going to take much more than a far away quake and an even further away hurricane to ruin our time.
We took Baby to the beach. At first she was uncertain about the whole thing. And even by the end, she still refused to take a step without holding someone’s hand.
But we searched for seashells, built sand castles, flew a kite, and played in the ocean.
Baby LOVED the ocean.
Ring-around-the-rosies is definitely more fun when you can all-fall-down into a crashing wave.
And man are those little birds funny. Baby delighted in urging them to run from the water.
M says it was worth it all – the drive, the money on the house that we don’t get back even though we didn’t stay, the piles of sand that we seem to have brought back with us and unknowingly scattered all across our house – just to watch Baby fall in love with the feel of sand on her feet and salt in her hair.
I couldn’t agree more.