Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Last Week

I could have spent the last week of summer setting up my classroom, or aligning my curriculum to new standards, or trying to figure out what the hell this proficiency based grading is all about. Instead we went to the beach.

By the time Brent got back from his rafting trip, I was feeling totally overwhelmed. The idea of packing up for a week at the beach and returning the day before I went back to work was daunting. "We can come back a day early, if that makes you feel better," Brent offered as we loaded up the car with a week's worth of clothes, toys, and books. He tied down his surfboard and we started the long drive to Manzanita. We stopped for sunglasses, chapstick, bubble gum, and coffees. By the time when hit the road, it was almost 4 o'clock and the kids were grouchy. I threw snacks at them for the next few hours, climbed back and forth between the passenger seat and the middle row to mediate disputes, ate my weight in sunflower seeds and we eventually made it to the beach house just as the sun set.

For the next week I forgot all about lesson plans and focused instead on sandcastles. Sunscreen. The weather forecast. What to pack for our daily picnic lunches on the beach.

Days at the surfing beach melted into sunsets at the beach house. Dinners around the table lingered and became late night card games. Whiskey ginger ales and popcorn. Progressive rummy and Phase-10.

I did not cook a single meal. I emptied the dishwasher once. Every time I tried to be helpful I found that someone had beaten me to it.

I'm not sure when Brent's family became my family, but it was on this trip that I realized it. My brother joined us for a night and fit right in because family is family. 

We forgot all about coming home early. In fact, we stayed at the beach late into Sunday afternoon. I kept thinking we should start packing up. The traffic would probably be bad. We should have been on the road hours earlier. But we just couldn't tear ourselves away from the last week of summer. And so I sat in the sand while my kids played in their own ways. Jack building meticulous sandcastles, Sawyer fearlessly jumping waves in the frigid surf, Clementine gumming everyone's water bottles and putting fistfuls of sand in her mouth. I watched Brent and my brother bobbing on the horizon and the sun descending at their backs.

I wanted every last drop of that final week. Monday would just have to wait.


  1. I'm glad you had a relaxing last week of summer. It looks marvelous. Great Pictures. I love the one of you throwing Clementine up in the air and her beautiful smile!

  2. Dear Cassadie,

    I just responded to you on my blog, but not sure how you'd know that I responded, so I'm writing it here to make sure:

    "Dear Cassadie,
    If you ever want to write a novel in response to a post, or anything else, I will read it! Your comment today means so very much to me.
    I'm sorry you lost your mom so early.
    Wishing you good, full days,

    By the way, I looked at this post yesterday, and loved it. Surf is superb for calming us down and reminding us of more important things!


  3. Such a good decision! I spent the last week preparing and fretting, and still didn't feel I had control of anything at all, so good for you with those memories of a wonderful holiday at the beginning of a new school year.