There are 33 people on the wall. Kids, kids-of-heart, grandkids, Janet, myself.
There’s always something going on in a big family. Someone’s always around, nearby, or on the way.
Wouldn’t want it any different.
So to be alone, even a few minutes, is rare.
I sat on the beach house balcony Friday staring at the ocean. Twenty family members played on the beach.
Four days. Three nights.
The steady, ocean breeze was a constant comfort. Crashing waves almost, almost drown out all other noise.
Even with the ocean trying to dominate the sound waves, sometimes their laughter seeps back through the wind. It tickles my ears, dampens, only to be squelched again by gusty winds.
The sky is perfect.
Some of them sit in lawn chairs, side by side, toes burrowed in the sand. A couple more lay on towels soaking in summer sun.
Several grandchildren carefully build a sandcastle, complete with a circular mote dug down into wet sand. Soon, a small crab, imprisoned in a pink bucket, is dumped in the mote to “protect” the castle.
The crab wants none of it. It scurries out, waving claws as it dashes backwards toward the waves. Grandkids go everywhere.
A son sits at the water’s edge at the place that’s neither land nor sea. A gentle finale of a wave splashes him clean before retreating, pulling back toward the vast ocean, only to return seconds later to say hello again.
Everyone here is related, part of the clan, the whole of my heart.
Each is as unique as a snowflake, a thumbprint, an original of everchanging clouds above.
Yet unless you belong to a large family, this is an oxymoron. With even one missing, it’s never quite the same, kind of empty, like a jigsaw puzzle missing the last piece. It’s almost complete, but not.
Someone is always on a mountain top, in the upswing, celebrating clear blue skies, with life going well.
Yet, the other side of the coin is true too.
Someone in a large family is always in a valley, struggling, dealing with whatever life may have thrown at them in that particular moment.
It all ebbs and flows, just like the water on the edge of the beach.
But today, here and now, it’s rainbows and unicorns.
Life is good!
A kite tied to the wooden crosswalk dances in the wind. It swoops down, then up unexpectedly. It catches my attention and a undeterred seagull glides by the kite.
Another burst of laughter whispers from the beach.
I want to join in and find out what’s so funny. Instead, I just sit and smile at the ones on the distant sand.
I don’t want to forget this moment.
Push the memory record button.
Keep it forever.
But for now, it’s focused in the memory, and crystal clear in the heart.