It’s time. The fruit flies have had a mating frenzy and are swarming throughout the kitchen. The biting black flies are taking over the beach. And the waters of Lake Michigan, which have been so blessedly and benevolently warm, just took a turn to the cool.
Not to mention this child-loving doting-grandfather needing a break from the little ones measuring the smoothies I poured for them to the millimeter to make sure they are exactly equal, piercing my ear drums with their indoor screams (even when in fun by scaring each other). I’m ready to reclaim my day so I’m not at the mercy of the explosive energy of a 6-year old-boy and the extreme mood swings of a prepubescent 10-year-old girl. (And I freely confess that my clever "Behavior Management" techniques outlined in the last post did NOT work. The kids forgot to read the manual.)
Not that it hasn’t been fun. We’ve played just about every game in the cupboard— math games like Othello and Yahtzee, word games like Boggle and Scrabble, board games like Clue and Monopoly. We finished two jigsaw puzzles and run the full gambit of card games—Uno, War, Go-fish, Blackjack, Rummy 500, Solitaire (3 styles), Trash, Five Crowns. We’ve improved our hand-eye coordination with paddleball, wiffleball, catch, frisbee, bean bag toss and miniature golf. We splashed in the waves, floated on rafts, swam in the lake, canoed to the outlet, hiked up one sand dune, hiked to another and ran down it, walked in the woods, biked a rail-to-trails path. Then there were the drive-in movie (Jungle Cruise) and the five videos we watched here (E.T., A League of Their Own, Hoosiers, The Black Stallion, Luca),the trips to the library and hours of reading, each alone and also out loud (just finished reading Island of the Blue Dolphins to the kids). There were two dinners out in town, the trips to the ice cream store, the delicious home-cooked meals, the sunsets from the deck, the lighting flashes during thunderstorms. Evening visits with the neighbors included a singing bonfire on the beach, a dance party and a Charades game. And then of course, so much time just lying out on the beach letting the mind drift, as it should in summer.
It has been grand. But it is time to go. For all of us. The kids will return to Portland and prepare for school, my daughter already back home at staff meetings, my other daughter continuing her online work minus the perk of finishing with a beer at the beach, my wife staying here for another 10 days hosting high school friends and me returning to a blissful time of solitude back in my own house. I’m sure I’ll miss the lake amidst the fog and smoke awaiting me in San Francisco, but Solitude is bliss and I am ready for it. And the piano.
Parting is most always sweet sorrow, but in this moment, the sweet outdoes the sorrow!