Sometimes you don't have your camera with you. Or sometimes the battery is dead or your memory card is full. Or sometimes you're just having too much fun to stop and get the camera. For the first part of this week, the latter was true for me.
Monday and Tuesday night, we went camping at Jalama Beach. Although this campground is a bit of a parking lot as far as campgrounds go (a lot of RVs, not a lot of flora, and the stereos can get loud), the kids had a blast. They boogie boarded, they biked, they made friends, they made sand castles, they ran on the beach, they flew kites, and they snake hunted. We adults had a blast too. Between the four of us, we walked on the beach, ran on the beach, kayaked, surfed*, flew kites, read, talked, ate Jalama burgers, ate home-cooked baby-back ribs, and drank about a liter of gin.
What struck me the most about the trip was how "old school" it seemed. The kids made friends with some "neighbor" kids at a campsite across the way, and, suddenly, they were acting so independently. They biked on their own. They played on their own. They would take off to go play or ride bikes and then we'd track them down at meal times. I'm not sure I have ever seen them have so much collective fun over a two-day period. And I'm not sure they've ever played so hard and been so exhausted.
And even though I didn't take enough pictures, one image sticks in my mind: It's my five-year-old daughter, riding her bike and whistling. Usually, she gets frustrated because she has training wheels and can't keep up with the bigger kids. But it's like she was having so much fun and was so happy that she didn't even mind if she was a little slower than the others. A couple of times, I was sitting at the picnic table, drinking my G & T, and there she'd go, past our campsite, just pedaling and whistling, biking at her leisure, and it was darling and fantastic.
The short trip was a perfect last "hoorah" for the summer. Today, I'm back at work, presenting workshops and finishing syllabi*. But I'm glad to have the image of my biking girl to carry with me throughout the day.
*I surfed for the first time in about four years, and it felt great.
**Between camping and cramming for work, I'm behind on my blog reading, but I'll be stopping by soon!