Featured Post

No Reply from Heaven

  I received a response yesterday to my post “Tears in the Closet”.   My friend reminded me of the “extreme separation”, which are the words...

Beach Memories

Sunday, April 3, 2011
While spending this past week at the beach, I was constantly flooded with beautiful memories from all of our 24 years of going to the beach.  At first, we went every year so that Michael could attend the state convention of the American Institute of Architects.  About 7 years ago, we began going just for pleasure... even though it was always pleasure.  It just meant we had Michael with us all day, instead of just from lunch to dinner.  We loved being at the beach together.  The children loved being together as a family. Before children, we would spend all afternoon at the beach.  We would participate in the annual sand castle contest, take long walks on the beach, or just lay out and read or talk about life.  We would stay on the beach until we absolutely had to go up to get ready for dinner.

Once we started having children, we got an extra room and brought my mom with us to help with the child care.  Michael would get up and out early in order to reserve plenty of chairs by the pool and on the beach.  The mornings would be all about the children. At lunch they would go up to the room to eat and nap, and then the afternoons were our honeymoons on the beach by ourselves.  When the kids were small enough to throw into the air, he would do his annual high toss in the pool.  We have pictures of all the kids in the same pool flying into the air..... except Julia, come to think of it.  She never did like to be thrown and have the feeling of her body being out of control.  We would play in the sand with them and hold them while the waves crashed up against our bodies.  As they got older, we would boogie board together.  Michael was always up for a game of football with the kids, too.  They began to join us on our sand castle endeavors, but, of course, we always let him call the shots on the design.  Twice we went to the beach with our best friends and their three daughters.  We crammed in so much fun during those trips that it seems like we have lots of years of memories of the beach with them, even though it was only two.
 Besides the woods, the beach was one of the few places where Michael could really relax.  He read much, studied his Bible even more, prayed more, contemplated life more, did nothing more, watched me more, and enjoyed the kids more.  He did all of these things on a regular basis, but at the beach his mind was freed up from the stresses of everyday life and he would give himself permission to indulge in these favorite "past times".  He would still get up before anybody else, in order for him to drink his coffee and read his Bible while on our outdoor porch.  I could always find him there when I came out of our room.  Our son, Michael Anthony, has always been an early riser, as well, and has had much energy to burn.  Often times, by the time I had gotten up, the two of them would have already been on a bike ride or played football.  Michael Anthony also required much wrestling in the pool, and his dad was always happy to oblige.

The first day we were here this week was a day full of a multitude of tears everywhere I turned.  As we walked into the outdoor porch, I saw the Adirondack chair where he sat every morning with his coffee and heard the fountain bubbling that he loved to hear in the background.  I walked into our room and the tears came again as I began to unpack.  We always unpacked together, organizing things into our separate closets as we talked about what we were going to do first.  As I picked up the beach bag to head to the beach for the first time this week, I could hear him say, "Here Babe, let me get that."  He never wanted me to have to carry anything.  He would hang bags all over himself just so that I would not have to carry one.  As I walked past my favorite apothecary store, I heard him say, "Babe, why don't you go in there and get something for yourself?" If I did not go at any point to buy something, he would sneak away and buy something for me to surprise me with later.  While laying out at the beach, he would often just look at me and say, "You're beautiful," or "You look pretty amazing, mama."  We were usually on the elevator alone coming back from the beach because the kids were racing back.  When I got on the elevator this week, I could see him standing next to me with his hair all unruly from the ocean breeze, smelling like sunscreen, and holding everything. He would always turn to me and say, "Hello!', like he was just seeing me for the first time, and then would try to steal a kiss.  He was so precious to me.

My girls walked with me on the beach this week, to keep me from doing it alone.  They are so very thoughtful and sweet. They even wrestled with their brother in the water and threw the football on the beach.  God used them to fill the gap this week for Michael Anthony's need for physical activity. I played tennis with him and rented a ball machine for him on another morning. Things were different this week.

 I cried so much when we first arrived that I had to call the children together in the kitchen for a family prayer.  We held hands and I prayed.  At one point, I could not even speak through the tears and paused so long that I am sure they were wondering if I was going to finish the prayer. I had to thank God for all of the sweet memories that we had in this place with their father, thank Him for bringing us to this place,  ask Him for peace and strength during our week, and for kindness in our actions towards one another.  The whole time I was praying, Michael Anthony rubbed the back of my hand with his thumb, as his dad always did when we held hands to pray.  It was a comforting act.  With that small action, I felt as if he was saying, "I love you, Mom.  I am here.  I understand."  God held my hand through that prayer of thankfulness for all of our past beach memories and those that are yet to come.

4 comments:

Anonymous Says:
April 3, 2011 at 11:45 AM

God can carry you through.. Much love to you and your children.

Anonymous Says:
April 3, 2011 at 12:39 PM

There are websites where you they turn your blog entries into a hard-copy book and mail it to you. You should do that when you are "done" with writing these memories, whatever "done" might mean.

Anonymous Says:
April 3, 2011 at 11:41 PM

Dear Jene, Reading your blog is like a devotional to me everyday. We do not know each other but I know your son from tennis at River Hills. I go there as well. I am so in awe of your strength and ability to hang tight with your faith in God. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I can promise you that you are helping someone you know or may never know. Your a neat lady. I promise to pray for you daily. I can only hope to love in the way you and Michael loved each other. What a blessing! Thanks again....

Anonymous Says:
April 4, 2011 at 6:27 PM

I too agree with the person above about making your blog into a book for later enjoyment. You are a truly talented writer. I continue to pray for you and your children everyday. I get so much nourishment from your posts everyday and am also in awe of your strength. I love you Jene'!
Julie Barker Hanna

Post a Comment