Yesterday my family said goodbye to the summer. A picnic, some time on the beach, and ice cream from a cash only stand- that pretty much sums up everything summer should be. We lived it large and then put it away until next year.
Ben grew up spending time at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester, and he's been dying to take the boys there all summer long. We got organized and ended up spending a day with his parents and his brother and brother's girlfriend, who also happen to be Elliott's godparents. We all brought something for a picnic lunch in the shady playground area, then headed down this ramp to Half Moon Beach.
This beach was out of control. My family always went to Lake Champlain, and the rocky cliffs instantly reminded me of being little on vacation. Milo and I made a dash for the water and spent most of the rest of the day playing, first in the tide where the waves hit the shore, then a little deeper, then working up the courage to climb around on the rocks and explore. It was hard to slow Milo down, he kept scrambling further and further on the cliffs, calling out "CAROCKROCKROCK!" and grinning. Ben and Milo's Grampy kept wading out to meet us and splash around. The water was cold and the sand burnt bare feet. It was summer.
We agreed, almost as soon as we all got there, that this would be a family tradition: a farewell summer picnic at the end of August. We took our picture in front of the park sign and made plans to do it all again next year. There is a thrill in driving home from the beach, kids sleeping in the back, looking at pictures from the day and snacking on leftover chips and grapes. I kept imaging a seven- and eight-year old pair of boys scrambling over rocks in pictures on my phone. Maybe a little girl in a sunhat looking at seashells while her big brothers bury her feet (or throw sand down her bathing suit, probably more likely). I'm so excited to carve out some new traditions for my little family.
Already today, real life is baring down hard. There are PILES of paperwork (speech therapy group entrance forms, return to daycare update on routines and schedules for two boys, graduate courses to register for, hearing evaluation case history, ack) and the house really shows the results of a few weeks of hard play and day trips. I feel the promise of a return to routine balanced precisely against the pressure of a full-to-bursting schedule. But yesterday was all about leaving my flip flops wherever I kicked them off and letting my son climb a little bit higher than I thought was safest. Yesterday was the first annual Farewell Summer Picnic at Stagefort Park.