WHITNEY CAIN, PHD

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A Little Magic

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I’ve been feeling a powerful need for my feet to be in the sand, so this past weekend I packed up the kids and headed to the ocean.  We showed up to find our ocean-view room would, indeed, have a view of the ocean if we were hovering above the hotel in a blimp.  A group of fishermen in rooms beside us most certainly passed the projection portion of their voice classes, but likely failed elocution and substance.  Their stories of landing colossal-sized fish and epic partying in their younger years were punctuated with wicked arguments over who was responsible for the next beer run.  All of us got sunburns in odd spots from poor sunscreen application.  

Here’s what else happened . . . we giggled our heads off when we saw our pitiful accommodations. We rode a ferry to a lighthouse none of us had seen.  We floated in the sound, read books on the beach, and picked up all kinds of funky shells. We deflected cross words and everyone, at some point, went with the flow.  We combined our skillsets and systematically analyzed then predicted which fisherman would be heading to the Food Lion (usually poor Warren).  We ate ice cream for dinner.  It was perfect.

Family time isn’t always so smooth.  We know one another’s buttons and often don’t work hard enough to control impulses to push them.  Our shared characteristics can be as irritating as they are comforting.  We’re all a little inconsistent.  Occasionally I panic when I see the tops of my kids’ heads for too long, worrying those phone-sized screens will crush the big, bold dreams they deserve.  Other times I’m lackadaisical about their relationships with YouTube.  Sometimes they want me close and watching.  At others they find my presence and gaze limiting.

But this past weekend we kept our fingers off one another’s triggers and relished our shared understandings.  We stayed pretty close, but I knew when to wander the beach and watch the waves instead of those three precious heads. No doubt the change of scenery was balm to our souls and having someone else scoop your ice cream for supper is always a treat, but there was a little magic about our weekend, too.  I won’t be so silly as to expect this magic on all our getaways, but I’ll take it this time – every single bit of it.