Monday, August 16, 2010

Decade girl

Leah is 10. A whole decade old. This is so surprising. Ten crept up on us so silently, so quickly. Here she is at 10 and still that happy girl we all love. Tall, lean, shining eyes and that delightful laughter, that charming laughter that I adore. Never one for grand celebrations she just requested making S'mores cupcakes and playing with friends. We suggested heading to the beach, her most favorite place to visit. That was it. The thing we felt was just the way to celebrate her birthday.

Our weekend at the beach was both fun and busy. Our purpose was playing and enjoying. We could have spent several more days there and still could have had the same amount of fun every day. Although the waves were big the girls enjoyed the water with glee. It was difficult for them to swim in the rough surf but watching them you wouldn't notice any lack of joy. They got wet, even tumbled up a bit in those waves, but no big deal. Of course that first serious wave smasher filling their mouths with salty water did freak them out. Startled and upset they recovered quickly from the shock to return to the water for more. I must say that I too was knocked around a fair bit with those mega waves. We all learned quickly to keep an eye out for those sneaky waves. Their comfort with water (all that time at the pool) made such a difference with their attitude towards those big waves. I was glad the girls were not afraid to enjoy the water taking advantage of the excellent waves for boogie boarding. They also loved diving into waves, body surfing to shore and jumping over them. I loved watching every minute of that laughing fun. Those big grins, all of them were such memories for me.

Keith and Olivia spent time working on a big sand castle. It was a mission. Olivia was so set on making it extraordinary that she was so focused on the work. Leah helped for a while but was drawn to the shore for shells. Her desire to find shells was inspired by some of our beach mates. A few ladies were discovering decent shells and giving them to the children around us. Olivia gladly accepted any finds as they were the perfect adornment for her castle. I watched Keith and Olivia for a while as they piled sand in towers. The work came along quickly as their imagination manifested into the castle in front of me. Beyond them I noticed Leah searching the shore for shells. A silent task, her focus was evident. I watched her grasp for shells only to come up empty handed. She paused time to time watching other people successfully find shells. Still she pressed on patiently looking. How hard she worked and how frequent those frowns came. I recalled myself in her, Thinking of how I must have looked performing the same task. Feeling the same disappointment with every missed shell. Whereas I was always alone on my search I decided my girl needed some one to join her in the search. I rose from our blanket and began to help her get those shells. Together we pawed the sand between those big waves. Sometimes we were greeted with a decent shell. Other times our luck was not good. We held hopeful finds under our feet waiting for those waves to pull away long enough for us to grab our shells. I was pleased with our patience. Sure there were some real busts, just a fragment of a shell, but we found some great shells too. Leah loved every minute of that seeking. She was impressed with my seasoned shell finding skill. And I shared with her my secrets. Eventually as time passed she too was finding more shells. Those successes were victories she needed. I was glad to help her along and she was glad to add more treasures to her bucket. All our shells would become a part of her collection to find a place in a jar for her room. Memories of that beach weekend to look at any time.

Together she and I walked along the beach, not too far, just a little ways searching for treasures. Perhaps a new location would improve our success. Our luck did not improve as much as we hoped. We noticed that our former position was much more plentiful and that encouraged us to return to our portion of the beach. For some reason that spot where we began held far more finds. There the fragments of shells and other debris seemed to collect in a big pile. Despite the numerous dead jellyfish washing up we pressed on with our collection. Leah found fragments of shells all unique and significant. I found a large snail shell and a small pink scallop. That snail shell was her favorite. Mine too. About the time I began to tire from standing Keith and Olivia returned to the water ready to rinse off. They completed their castle and were excited to show us their work. I had not noticed that the sun was nearly gone, hiding behind the numerous hotels lining the beach. The castle was super awesome as Leah put it and big. Much bigger than when I last noticed. While the talk went around the features Leah was eager to show them her shell collection. Olivia was so excited to check out the bucket that their chatter filled the air as Keith and I began to pack up our things. Full of sand and ready for supper we headed back to our room to get on with going out to dinner.

All the girls wanted to eat was crab. Which was perfect considering our location. A little place along the beach was the perfect location for us. They gobbled up the food chattering away between bites about what they did all day long. Our late dinner began to wear on Olivia and I . While Leah and Keith took time nibbling on those crab legs Olivia and I headed to the hotel. I knew Leah wanted to walk along the beach with her Dad after dinner so I figured that Olivia and I wouldn't make it far. Back to our room Olivia slipped on her pajamas chattering all about everything on her mind. When I thought she was getting a breath I realized the silence was her asleep. She was much more tired than I thought. I made my way to the balcony to keep watch for Leah and Keith. I was looking along the beach when I heard Leah call up to me. Waving frantically so excited to see our room. She had a great time along the beach. I found out that she and her Dad stopped off for ice cream on their way back. Full of dessert she too was chattery. Like her sister she was asleep almost instantly. That was a sign of a successful fun day.

Before heading north to home we spent 2 hours at the beach early before lunch. Another castle was made and more shells were found. Lunch on the beach was full of crab legs, ice cream cones and laughter. Hours later back home a small birthday cake ended our day. Candles, singing and cake. Celebrating a decade took a weekend. A very good weekend for a lovely little girl.

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