With Annabelle so young, it felt like a good idea to stay close to home, and just schedule day trips. It was a good call, as we were able to enjoy many of the fruits that the Pacific Northwest has to offer during a mild and beautiful late Summer. We mostly hiked, and biked, picked berries, and hung out at the beach.
For instance, on Saturday we loaded up our bikes and all rode down to the local beach where we spent the afternoon and early evening. It was warm and sunny with a slight breeze, but the air had a certain Fall crispness to it that made the outing picture perfect.
Even though our bikes were pretty loaded down, including Annabelle being towed behind in a kid trailer, we were also able to pack a beach tent, which we set up at the far (and least crowded) end of the beach. It was Annabelle's first extended trip to the beach, and she really enjoyed taking in the sights and rolling around under the shade the tent had to offer with Mrs. LIAYF by her side. However, when I took her to see the waves and dip her toes into the ocean, she protested quite a bit. I guess I don't blame her, as the water was on the cold side.
After a picnic lunch, Lukas went off to play in the sand while I sat there and watched. In truth, I had something on my mind. Something that I couldn't quite shake, and which was bothering me enough to diminish my enjoyment of this near perfect day with my family.
But, as I sat there with my mind elsewhere, Lukas came to me and grabbed my hand. He led me the few feet out to the hole he had started in the sand. "Dig with me Dad!" he demanded in a sweet voice, and with an inviting smile on his 6 year old face. This was a request I couldn't ignore, so I sat next to him in the sand and began work on a castle. But my mind was still elsewhere.
Soon Lukas, seeing an approaching wave, ran headstrong into the ocean and raising his right leg gave the oncoming wave a healthy kick. "Hi Yah!" he yelled as he did so, then beckoned me to join him in his battle. "Come on Dad! We need to stop the waves!".
At that request I quickly slipped my phone and keys out of my shorts pockets, stood, and ran with abandon myself into the water, kicking determinedly at another oncoming wave next to Lukas. Alone, he was no match for the full force of the mighty Pacific, but together it felt like we could stave off the relentless attack.
Soon, we retreated to the safety of the shore where we drew up plans with our fingers in the sand. He would zig this way, I would zag that way, and when we got to the water we would throw fireballs at the waves, and use the water to throw up force fields which would protect us from its force!
All the time, Ms. LIAYF and Annabelle were watching us with piqued interest, surely happy we were having fun.
Time and again we attacked the water's edge, only to retreat and redraw our plans of attack. In the end we were both dripping wet and shivering cold from our fearless battle against the force of the ocean. We were also exhausted from laughing so much during our exploits.
Then, as we sat and dried ourselves off I remembered again what was on my mind. But now, thanks to my family, and especially one energetic 6 year old, I was in a different place. A very happy place at that.
I turned to face the sun, it's golden glow glistening off the approaching waves and felt it's comforting warmth.
It nearly matched the warmth I felt inside.