Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Cruise Director & The Cousins

Kate is downstairs making the case for being allowed a candy bar after breakfast, testing the exact level of vacation that we are actually taking...there have been PopTarts after all. I'm folding beach towels, as instructed by Candy Bar Girl, so that we may make better time getting to the beach than in days past.

Yesterday she and I left the rest of our crew behind sleeping and enjoyed the beach, just the two of us. I had a lovely time watching her try to be content without her build-in beach buds.

A small family of cousins, I assumed, was playing in the ocean near her and she scooted and drifted and scooted and drifted and in her very determined way kept attempting to make eye contact with the little cousins all the while looking toward the beach to see if her own siblings were perhaps approaching.

Eye contact finally established with the oldest of the cousins, Kate spent the next 10 minutes in animated chatter with her mark. Soon however, the conversation ended and Kate made her way back to where I was sitting on the blanket, spending more time watching her than reading words on a page.

In the background, at the edge of the ocean I heard a little voice say as he pointed to Kate, "Mamma! I made a new friend!"

Eventually Kate and I returned to our gang as they gained the pool area. "Wonder if our other friends are going to be along soon?" Our other friends were yet another family of cousins whose acquaintance we'd made on another day poolside.

They were 7 in number and ranged in age from Kate to Molly and were remarkable in their ability to create copious amounts of both noise and splash. Two of the children were quite adept at seeming to be just ready to go perilously under and yet quite. They did this in such a way as to make you fairly certain that you didn't need to jump to their rescue but at the same time feel like an uncaring buffoon for not leaving the comfort of your lounge chair.

Much to Kate and Molly's delight, our friends did arrive en masse just as my Man and I were settling in with our cozy books and our coffee and our deep desire to not be bothered. Nice aren't we?

One of those cousins soon placed herself in Molly's floating whale boat which seemed completely fine with the girls but was less so with me.

That whale and I have a history.

Years ago, we'd purchased my blue friend to serve as a bath tub for a very small Cole and an even smaller Megan at a camp where my Man was serving as camp pastor. The room we were assigned had no good spot to bathe the kids, and the whale was the perfect solution. Since those precious days years ago, our whale has seen many a body of water and has faithfully floated the bodies of every one of our kiddos.

I was on the edge of my seat waiting for that other child to tire of the whale so that I could scoop it out of the pool and hide it before it was beaten to a pulp and deflated, never to take to chlorinated waters (or tile floor) ever again.

Kate, as usual, had other ideas.

I saw that first cousin preparing to disembark, so I too prepared to leave my chair and grab my the whale but before I could stop her, Kate turned to the rest of the group and said, "OK guys!!! WHO wants the NEXT ride?"

For the rest of the afternoon Kate became the official Cruise Director of Floating Whale Cruise Lines, guiding her passenger-filled craft back and forth from the shallow end to the deep end all the while enforcing strict order amongst the group of cousins.

"I'm next, I'm next," each would insist.
"No," answered the Cruise Director, "the one in the purple suit is next, then the one with the sparkles after that, you've already had your turn this round."

Not one soul argued with her. It seemed she who owned the whale was sovereign.

My Man and I eventually relaxed into our chairs and our books as Kate enjoyed what was probably her favorite day of vacation with her friends and her whale and ...her authority.

Kate reminded me of what I already knew, but had shelved for vacation purposes:

Being nice is not merely a luxury only to be shared with folks with whom I am comfortable. Being nice is simply THE way to be, even if you have to get a little wet and endure a LOT of noise and share a bit of your day...even if it's a vacation day!

{Above photo by Megan Wright}

Being nice could even mean having to share my whale!

NOTE: Kate's friend making adventures at the beach didn't begin this year. Click here to read of another.

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