A Romantic Day At The Beach–After All These Years!

Last week, my husband and I were sitting on the beach when I spotted a family walking toward us. “Look,” I whispered. “They have two girls and a boy, just like us.”

“Um-hmm.”

“Remember when that was us a few years ago?”

“Um-hmm.”

“We can’t both spy on them. Look at me. Pretend we’re talking.”

“We are talking,” Rick said.

Now they were only a few feet away.

Peeking from behind my sunglasses, I watched the daddy drag a cart filled with chairs, a cooler, sand toys, a Pack ‘n Play, an E-Z Up shelter, and a camping tent across the hot sand. The mother pushed a stroller loaded with the baby and even more supplies.

 

The mom and dad were smiling and chit-chatting, despite their loads. Pretty soon, they had the tent up.

 

 

Transfixed, I kept watching. Remembering. “Back when we were doing all that stuff, it seemed like such a ….”

“Hassle?”

“Yeah. Soon as we got everything set up, we had to take it all down to go inside for lunch. Or for one of them to take a nap. Or to change a poopie diaper.”

But still, something about this family and their joy in the mundane captured my heart.

We didn’t realize how sweet life was back then. “We don’t want to go back in time, do we?” I said, feeling a bit melancholy. “Do it all over again?”

“Nah. The little boy just tracked sand on their towels.”

My gaze left the family and followed the shade of our own tent, to my husband of 34 years.

I think he knew I was staring at him.

He gently touched my foot with his.

Something shifted in my heart. I studied the diamonds dazzling across the ocean.

Perfectly content. Smiling.

Ever had one of those wow-moments?

When you realize what you have under your own tent is pretty wonderful?

Love,

Julie

 

Comments

  1. Anna Haney says:

    I am sitting here bawling. This really hit a nerve with me. There is so much going on right now. I turn 5o on Sunday. My mom is out of it again. Our church is moving in a new direction. My coworker has had her hours cut here at work and she is in dire financial straits. I really wanted to stay home and cry all day. But there are too many responsibilities nipping at me. This reminded me how blessed I am.

    • This is why I write, Anna. To let go and allow my heart to reach other hearts.

      You are such a blessing to me. Did you know that?

      And you know, I’m praying for you. Our thought life IS a battle. Probably the toughest one I’ve ever fought. Have you read Ann Voscamp’s 1,000 Gifts? I’ve read it and am now listening to it on my iPod. Whew–it’s good stuff–training ourselves to live exactly like we’re talking about.

  2. Julie, I often think the same thing when we’re at the beach. I can’t believe it’s been so long since my boys were little at the beach. But the getting there was a hassle, especially because I had to lug everything myself. And afterwards, haul three tired little boys back to the car or hotel. But now, with my wonderful husband Chuck, I don’t have to do it all by myself. Now, it’s grandchildren we take to the beach, and it’s a new, different, shared experience, praise God!

    • I’m so, so thrilled for you, Marilyn. And praying one day we have grandchildren…I can’t EVEN imagine how wonderful that’ll be.

      Love you, my friend.

  3. Looking back at “old” pictures, I sometimes get that yearning to go back to those days when my children were small. But, then I think how blessed I am today that we are so close and that they have blessed us with grandchildren. Life changes but so do the blessings.

    • Eileen–I had no idea you have grandchildren!! I love how you said it–life changes but so do the blessings. Praying one day I will too.

      Thank you for reading and writing!

  4. Your comment to Rick: “We don’t want to go back in time, do we?” I said, feeling a bit melancholy. “Do it all over again?”

    And Rick replied: “Nah. The little boy just tracked sand on their towels.”

    LOVE that from Rick. Made me grin. We went through all the rough stuff, all the “hassles,” all the challenges, and we’ve now come out the other side. We have grown children, dogs, board games and baseball, fishing and walking on the beach. One day there will be grandchildren for you and some of those old things will happen all over again, but in a different way this time, because through the eyes of a grandparent we see the past and also the future. We know that our children are handling the hassles and the challenges and will one day come out the other side, just like we did. And it’s that knowing that makes us smile.

    Thank you for sharing because yes, what we have under our own tent is pretty awesome especially when one foot touches the other gently. ; o )

    • I simply can’t wait to “do what you do” with your grandchildren, B.J. I want to be the same kind of grandmother you are!!

      Yep, sometimes all it takes is one foot touches the other. And looking around our own tents.

      Love you. Always.

  5. Yep we just don’t realize how quickly that time goes by…and how blessed we are in the process. Thanks for the reminder!

    • And Vonda, no one could have told me back then (because they tried) how fast it would go.

      I love seeing you with your grandchildren. Such a blessing, I’m sure. Praying the same for our family…in His perfect timing.

  6. Janette says:

    Oh Julie, how I loved this post. Tomorrow, my husband and I celebrate our 34th wedding anniversary and today we were talking about how much more deeply we know and appreciate each other. How thankful we are for the peace we have in one another’s love. As we look back and see our children where we were, as young parents and families, our hearts overflow with joy in the journey! Thanks for sharing – just beautiful!!

    • Thank you, thank you, Janette. You are SO RIGHT! Ha! And we think we know love when we first get married.

      It takes a lifetime.

      Hugs from my little loft in the woods. Blessings to you and your husband!

  7. Love how you nip at my emotions with your words, dear Julie. There’s so much in this – Rick’s sparse words that remind me of my own dear hubby who has little to say, but the way my heart still races with just a simple gesture. The way you’re always so chatty – like me. And the image of our own tent – what a great metaphor for traveling alongside the guys who’ve stuck with us through it all. And a toe nudge that carries more feeling than a thousand words.

    Jealous of you, though, to be at the beach. Beautiful sand and oh, that water – so inviting. Enjoy!

    • Carla, it was the gently touch with the foot. Hardly there. YOU GET IT!!

      My Guideposts writing group has nicknamed me Deep. Sometimes my heart is much bigger than my brain. The emotions in writing come easier than the plotting. :/

      Love you, my friend. Wish our men could meet. Of course, they probably wouldn’t talk nonstop like we would!

  8. Brenda Greene says:

    Missed you last Wednesday, Julie Girl! Loved this as it reminded me of our summer vacations with our girls at the beach when they were younger. It’s been many years since those memories were made.

    However, you helped me realize we just made another sweet memory this past Sunday when I experienced a grateful moment as our entire family gathered to celebrate our grandson’s 11th birthday. It had been a turbulent five years as we wandered thru the anguish and hurt of divorce, watching our daughter become a single mom to her two kids and missing their dad (our son-in-law). But here we were, five years later on this rainy Sunday after church at the pool, with a large and “blended” family….welcoming step-mom, step-dad, and a step-brother into our midst; all laughing and enjoying the moments…together! Along with about fifteen other 11-years-olds! God is indeed good.

    Thanks for your encouraging words Sweet Julie, that cause us to “remember”!

    • Feels so nice to be missed, Brenda. I missed y’all too–but my mind and heart were busy thinking about things to share with y’all.

      I’m tearing up. What a love story you just shared! And what joy to come out on the other side of pain. Sounds like a lot of love in your family. A lot of His Love. I’m so happy for you.

      Love you, my sweet friend. Thanks for sharing your heart.

  9. marci says:

    Oh how that was just the right thing to think on. It is so easy to feel we want to go back in time when they were little and under our wings, but there is a lot to be said for these years too. And I do need to remeber that “What we have under our tent is pretty wonderful”. Enjoy each age of our lives as we have it. … I always enjoy your blog, and I thank you for writing it. I also have gotten a lot from your word for the year. I seem to need that also. There have been several times I thought about writing a comment but think this is the first time I have written here.

    • Marci, I’m SOOOO glad you wrote! I can’t tell you how much it means to a writer to know we’re reaching someone’s heart. Even if it’s just one person. This is why I do what I do. Seems like every week God is faithful to give me a little nugget to write about, and to discover this tiny slice of life story makes a difference…well, it’s like a taste of heaven for me.

      Thank you, thank you. And Keep Writing Me Back!!

      XOXOXOX

      • Kay Elrod says:

        Julie,

        My husband and I celebrate 38 years tomorrow. The years only grow sweeter, and yes, grandchildren are the icing on the cake. What seemed difficult when you are raising the children is so much easier and fun with the grandchildren. We are very blessed with what God has given us in our tent.

        Thanks for sharing your life with all of us. You say what we are thinking in the best sort of way!!

        Kay

        • Hey Kay! I miss seeing you. And a great big congrats to you and your husband! You have us beat by a few years. 🙂

          Praying for grandchildren in our tent one day.

          Can’t think about you without smiling. 🙂 Thanks for letting me know you are reading.

  10. Omigoodness! I don’t miss days at the beach. But I’m finding that the longer we’re married, the more of those wow moments I have. There’s definitely something sweet about being married to the same person for half of my life so far, working through a lot of both our growing up together, not killing each other or our children, being halfway sane on the other side of it. 🙂

    I can wait for grand kids, though.

  11. You and me both, Flea–our red hair! Bet you have my kind of skin too. :/

    Us too–we grew up together.

    And just like you, I’m also looking forward to grandchildren one day.

    Much love and thanks for writing me!!

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