No, I did not fall off the face of the earth. When I went to the beach last week we decided to camp overnight and we got back late Thursday. Friday's lack of post I will chalk up to having "beach brain." I was so grateful for the invitation. Calypso has been asking to take a trip to the ocean for a couple of months. I have to be honest, although I grew up visiting the New Jersey Shore, the last couple of visits many years ago were so unpleasant due to dirty and crowded beaches I had no desire to go back. When our hostess specifically promised clean, uncrowded beaches (without me inquiring) I took her up on the invitation knowing how excited Calypso would be. We descended upon Sandy Hook, NJ and the description was accurate. The weather was perfect too. Our hostess also brought her two young grandsons.
Even more than a beautiful day at the beach there was the pleasure of seeing Calypso's joy at visiting the ocean. Better yet was the openness she extended to me. We had some really sweet mom/daughter time. As excited as she was she also was a bit nervous about the strength of the waves and asked me to come out with her when she went farther than knee-deep. In turn she provided the security needed by the little grandsons who didn't want to wade up to their own waists without someone's hand to hold. It felt good to be needed and it was lovely to see her needed too. Later, when we all went to bed in the single tent she wanted me to tell her stories like when she was little.
Now you must know that any sort of getaway I am involved in will have its share of outrageousness too. So thought there were some wonderfully tender times to be shared there was some absurdity too. One thing Calypso was less than thrilled by was the presence of jellyfish. At one point both she and the 7 year old grandson wanted me to take them out deep so we could bob waves. They also each insisted I hold their hands as we waded out. As we reached the first little cresting wave, Calypso noticed a few jellyfish and became unnerved. She would not let go of my hand and I was trying to calm her down while maintaining a grip on the 7 year old. At this point I became distracted, which is never a good thing when facing oncoming waves of increasing size. Finally Calypso released my hand and made a dash for shore....just as I looked up and saw a fairly enormous wave ready to crash into the 7 year old and me. It knocked me backwards and I thought, "Oh s***!" just as my head went under and I tried to keep a grip on the little hand still in mine. Then my head slammed into the seafloor and I felt my neck roll as I thought, "Oh d***! Where's the 7 year old?" Next I felt my ass and legs continue rolling with the wave over my head, which was still planted in sand, and I thought, "Oh f***! My neck will break, the kid will drown." Finally, I popped out of the water, looked around and saw the 7 year old coming up with me.
I grabbed the boy and headed back to shore where I found his grandmother holding her sides laughing as she described the scene from her point of view. It seems that the two sets of legs flying out the top of the wave in unison and ending in the two of us popping up to standing without so much as a single splutter or cough made for some sort of deranged though graceful synchronized drowning performance. She tells me is would have won money if she'd been filming it. Sadly for you, fortunately for me, no such YouTube moment was captured for the sake of posterity. Calypso did however, snap a shot of me discovering the roll in the wave had deposited roughly 78 pounds of sand in my suit.
The next day we visited the two local lighthouses, Twin Lights and Sandy Hook Lighthouse. The light at Sandy Hook is the nation's oldest and is still in operation though it is now automated. At Twin Lights there is a nice little museum and a very large example of a Fresnel lens on display. The lens is actually a double-sided series of concentric glass prisms. The prisms allow for the light to be focused into the single beam that is visible for great distances. It's so simple and yet so effective that it's a design still in use. At Sandy Hook we were too early to be able to go up into the lighthouse or tour the keeper's house but we did get to stroll around and see a brief film about the history of the light. Interestingly, it came under the fire of American troops during the Revolution because if the British captured it they'd control New York Harbor since Sandy Hook is at the narrow and treacherous entry to the harbor.
Unfortunately, the lighthouse exploration was curtailed when the 4 year old was suddenly gripped by the need to empty his stomach as we drove to the next stop. Bless Calypso, she showed great compassion, tolerance, and helpfulness when she helped clean up the boy's blankie and the car while his grandmother and I cleaned him up. She exhibited no small amount of prudence by keeping a baggie under his face during the rest of the car ride. It proved wise when he filled two more of them. Being wedged between two car seats for a very long ride with a vomiting preschooler has to be one of life's truly unpleasant things but Calypso was uncomplaining. I commended her highly for not only keeping in check her own urge to spew or to break out into tears but for being a comfort to the boy and a help to all of us. Sorry to horrify you all with tales of chunder. Let's think happier thoughts now. Such pretty flowers, so lovely to see and nice to smell. Such a relaxing beach, so nice to sit in the sun....Ahhhh, to the happy place...
Rolling with a relaxed pace, a crashing wave, a spasm of rapid reverse peristalsis...it's all good if you come out of it better than you went in.