To Whom It May Concern (you know who you are):
First of all, you were missed.
Second of all, you missed out.
See how that works?
I told David that spending a week anywhere with us should be temptation enough, but seeing how that is clearly not the case, it occurred to me that maybe I haven't made the argument strongly enough. And so for your consideration, here are my top ten reasons you should pack up your sunscreen and your beach towels and your reservations and your hesitations and be here next year.
1. There is no better place to be a child. Period.
2. There is no better smell than sunscreen and salt water. Period.
3. There is no better feeling than sand below you, sun above you, and kissing in between. Exclamation point!
4. There is no better sound than to hear your children shrieking in delight as you fly across the waves together. Parentheses. Unless it is hearing the waves crash behind you while you snuggle them around a warm fire. End parentheses.
5. There is no better delight than the little curl of anticipation that comes from cracking a new paperback on the beach. Comma. And the magic world that its words will weave around you. Comma. And knowing that nothing is going to interrupt you.
6. There is no better weight than wet eight-year-old boy wrapped in a towel and snuggled under your chin. Sigh. In quotation marks.
7. There are no better dreams than those you have in a beach house because real life has never seemed farther away. What is worry. Question mark.
8. There is no place with greater evidence of God's love. This sand, crushed for millennia just so you could build castles with moats and turn your children into sandy merpeople (semi colon) this coast split and torn by cataclysmic events just so your children could throw themselves into the surf at the edge of the world (semi colon) this sun which fired the sky last night in hot oranges and brilliant fuchsias just so you could stand there with your mouth ajar in wonder.
9. There is no better sight than our long line of bicycles trailing down the boardwalk at dusk, headed towards the park, the pier, chocolate donuts with sprinkles, and hot chocolate if we're cold. Another exclamation point. I'm feeling exuberant.
10. There is no better place to count your blessings. Ellipsis. They are as numerous as the grains of sand at our feet.
You think I'm exaggerating.
That's impossible. You cannot exaggerate the joys of this kind of living.
This morning as I type from the most perfect view in creation, the sun starting its long graceful arc across the sky and warming my back, I cannot imagine anywhere else I'd rather be.
The girls are all laying as they have for six days, heads together, wearing their sunglasses and floppy beach hats. They gossip and laugh as Olivia dishes everything she knows about junior high to her younger, adoring cousins. Don't worry. Savannah, with her perfected eye roll, never lets it go to her head. Soon they will grab their boogie boards and scream as they jump in the ice cold water, and I've heard rumors of a dance routine performance they've been working on. You don't want to miss that for anything.
Caleb and David are beside me reading. Their toes have disappeared in the sand, while their heads have disappeared into the world their authors created out of nothing. Ethan is napping in his beach chair. The hair on his legs has turned golden. It's not too much to say that I see that as one of my greatest personal accomplishments.
Soon I will go boogie boarding and amaze everyone, especially David, who is the only one I'm trying to impress anyway. And then I will lay in the sand, press my ear to the earth until I can hear its slow, steady heartbeat, and take a well-deserved nap. (It's hard work being a world-class anything...boogie boarding is no exception.)
As usual, my thoughts this week have been about magic and miracles and creation--the millions of years and enormous effort that had to be expended for me to be right here with those most precious to me. I am humbled by that knowledge.
And I have no doubt that if I ever make it to that mansion in heaven, it will be beachfront property.
Join me here.