Friday was the last day of school for kids in our town. As I’ve mentioned before my middle child isn’t the best transitioner. Last week was a little rough, (among other things) she was obsessively reading aloud every word on every paper/folder/returned project/workbook/note/finished work/unfinished work/scrap of paper found on the bus and insisting that I repeat the reading aloud to her. She only wanted to talk about school – things they’d done, things they had left to do, things there was no time to do, what she’d wear each day and who said what. There was little eating or sleeping. There was no distracting her with shopping for summer books, a dinner picnic visit to our town swimming hole, summer bucket lists, or talk of other plans.
While I had hoped against it, I thought her transition might be rough, so last month we made plans to visit family on Cape Cod for this past weekend as something to look forward to during the last few weeks of school, and something to help ease the transition into summer. We left right after the kids got home from school and the car was packed. The family we stay with and their house that we stay at are very comfortable, friendly and beloved parts of my kids’ lives. The plans didn’t end up helping the last few weeks of school move along easily. But we did have a wonderful vacation.
Amid the go-carts and mini-golf, one of my very favorite parts of the weekend was yesterday’s low tide. Today I realized that low tide has been a most memorable and favorite part of all of the beach vacations we’ve taken with my kids. While we all enjoy the bumps, speed and excitement of riding waves (the kids even got new boogie boards this weekend to replace our beat up boards), as in life, we really don’t love being pushed around in any direction very much. We prefer things to stop for a second. We like to look at what is around with some of our own control of time and space. We like to really look, explore, examine, take in, question, process and contemplate. We are at our best in calm.
This low tide was lower than we’d seen it. Normally, we can only walk along the 30 yards or so of beach near our family’s house even during low tide, but this low tide was so low that we could walk rather far along the shore. We very happily trespassed through many neighbor’s private beaches and under their docks and found all sorts of wonderful things.
Dictionary.com defines low tide as “the point of maximum ebb.” I was reading about low tides, the lower the low tide (and higher the high tide) the more aligned the sun and the moon. Maybe it had something to do with the summer equinox yesterday. I don’t follow tide charts or astrology, but I do really like those words: ebb and align.
We came home today. There was no traffic. There was no fighting or complaining in the car. We unpacked, did some chores and errands. My girls rode their bikes to visit a new puppy down the street. We made a big list of things we wanted to or had to do tomorrow and oddly we all agreed on the list and didn’t grumble about the “had to dos.” The kids helped me pick up the house with little persuasion. We looked through the kids’ school folders again (and I’m sure we will repeat this at least a few times before weeding out what is for saving or recycling). We played Boggle over dinner with good attitudes, and the kids went to bed clean, content and peaceful, happy it was summer.
I’m starting this week still wading through summer’s low tide. I’m looking back at today grateful and still thinking “Woah, that was awesome.” High tide will come. We’ll welcome high tide sometimes and have fun beating up those new boogie boards, riding waves into shore laughing and but sometimes we’ll be swept underwater sputtering and choking by currents and undertows.
I’m pretty sure, in the end I will still remain the most grateful for times of ebbs and alignments.