I started writing this blog on Friday August 29th (though obviously I had to wait to post it till today, when we got back to town) from a room at a beach “resort” in Eastport whose name is far more grandiose and elegant than the reality. It’s far from the nicest place to stay on the Eastport Peninsula, but it meets our needs — specifically, it met my twin criteria of being near the beach and having a cabin free this weekend.
We decided to risk Labour Day weekend in Eastport despite an unpromising weather forecast. Unfortunately our camera is being repaired, so I’ll have no snapshots of this weekend. This worries me. I don’t trust my memory to grab and hold moments if I don’t record them photographically. Case in point: my college years. As a student at an Adventist college, I went out with a bunch of friends, friends-of-friends, and sometimes random strangers, virtually every Sabbath afternoon for three years, for some kind of walk, adventure, hike, trip to the beach, trip to a park, something. How many of those trips can I actually remember where we went and who I was with? One or two … the ones I brought my camera along for.
In the same way, I feel like the good times we have as a family are, in the words of the song I love from Mamma Mia, “Slipping through my fingers all the time” unless I can capture them for later browsing through the album. And our kids do love to look through photo albums, remembering the time we went there and the day we did that, so it’s not just me.
So if I could have snapshots of the last Friday in August 2008, what memories would I want to capture and preserve?
Photo 1: 8:00 a.m.: waking up in our king-sized bed at home to find both kids in bed with us. This rarely happens anymore — a couple of years ago it used to be an evernight occurence. When they were doing this all the time it was actually a little uncomfortable, but now that it’s rare I revel in these warm cuddly moments. I lie there thinking sleepily and sentimentally: There can’t be a six-by-six-foot square of space anywhere on the planet more filled with love than this bed, right now.
Photo 2: 11:30 a.m.: Goobies Big Stop, halfway to Eastport. Emma, Jason and I all order big brunches, while Christopher, who’s been complaining of a pain in his stomach, leans against my shoulder and, instead of picking at his food like he usually does, completely eschews it. Jason and I exchange worried glances, wondering if he’s really sick and if it’s a good idea to take him down to Eastport.
Photo 3: 2:00 p.m.: Safe inside the wood-panelled walls of our “resort” cabin, we look first for the thermostat, since it’s about 14 degrees outside and considerably cooler than that inside. The radiators don’t cut in. The heat doesn’t seem to work. Great. We’re stranded in Eastport on a cold, gray, rainy weekend, possibly with one sick kid, in a third-rate cabin with no heat. Can this weekend get LESS fun??
Photo 4: 3:00 p.m.: On Eastport Beach. We’ve left the now-cozy cabin behind to warm up even more (after an intervention from the proprietor who turned something up or on for us) and brought Max down to the beach for a run. Actually this would have to be a collage of shots: Max running into the sea after his ball and turning back, horrified, as waves break over him; Emma squatting on the sand, the sea swirling around her ankles, saying, “Mommy! The water’s actually WARM here! Well, not that it’s not freezing, but it’s LESS freezing!” Christopher, miraculously recovered, scrambling to the top of the rocks and calling Max, who runs straight up the side of the cliff — then down again as Jason and Chris keep calling to him. Me, sitting in the sand — the wind has changed again and while it’s not a hot sunny beach day, it’s warm with a soft breeze, and I’m enjoying the stillness, the fact that we have the beach to ourselves so Max doesn’t have to be tied on, the fact that the kids are having fun and happy. And I remember that even a bad day at Eastport is better than a good day anywhere else.
The weekend continued from there with more rain, keeping us confined to the cabin for much of Saturday during which we alternately grew closer as a family, and got such bad cabin fever we were ready to kill and eat each other. Late in the afternoon the skies cleared and we enjoyed an idyllic couple of hours at the beach when it was so warm and so calm that we actually all went swimming (as opposed to just wading, splashing and shrieking). Only the Newfoundlanders reading this will appreciate what a gift from God this actually was.
On Sunday, we drove back as far as my parents’ cabin, where we enjoyed some more swimming, in frigid freshwater as opposed to frigid saltwater this time, as well as some blueberry picking and boating. We spent one last night at the cabin to finish off the summer, and went down to the pond together after sunset for a starlit swim and boat ride to show the kids the myriad stars you can see once you’re away from the city lights. August couldn’t have ended on a better note.
And best of all: no bats!!