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Friday, July 11, 2014

We went to Edisto Island.

Edisto is just north of Hilton Head and just south of Charleston in South Carolina.  It's sleepy, no chain restaurants and no high rises.  Just beach and houses and bike trails.  Stephen has been there seven or eight times since he was twelve.  This is my fourth trip with his family.
A day of vacation in Edisto is breakfast, beach, bikes, lunch, puzzle, good books, island exploration, family dinner, sunset, bedtime (for the kids), and then some wine and conversation.  Repeat.  Repeat. Repeat.  Sometimes there is a trip to the local serpentarium or a sunset boat ride of the bay, but there is always a trip to George and Pinks for peaches and tomatoes and The Sea Cow Eatery for pancakes and eggs.
I only pack four outfits for each kid which means I do a load or two of laundry mid week, but I can pack all five of my kids in one suitcase.  I'm super proud of this fact...a skill I've been perfecting over the last ten years.  However, the trunk still gets full fast with scooters and helmets and floaties and beach buckets.  Oh, and I always seem to still forget something important.
This year, I forgot Schroeder's swim suit.  We were getting ready for the beach on our first morning of vacation and discovered it was missing.  I asked him if he would wear his boxer briefs to the beach until I could find him a new suit at one of the trinket shops.  He was a good sport, but confessed to me that "he was a little nervous" before we got in the car.  He looked like a little French boy running around in his tight little shorts and I was tempted to not buy him any replacements.
I shared with a friend before the trip that I was anxious about taking five kids swimming in the ocean.  I was having nightmares about someone drowning.  I'm a permissive parent by nature wanting my kids to have a long leash to explore their world.  But the ocean is unforgiving.  We decided to leave Penelope at the condo with her Grammy and just take the four big kids.  D'arcy is a strong, independent swimmer, and the other kiddos had wrap around floaties.  The waves were super gentle this trip.  It was a gift.  With each wave, Schroeder would say, "Thank you vacation," and Maggie would say, "This is the best day ever."  In the past, a half hour at the beach with four kids was all the "fun" we could handle.  But this year, we reluctantly left after a couple hours.
I actually, whole heartedly really enjoyed spending these days with my kids.  Sometimes they are my work and sometimes they are my entertainment.  Sometimes it surprises me how quickly they move from one to the other.
Let me mention that I have successfully potty trained four children.  However, a couple years after potty training is over, I've discovered that there are other skills I feel obligated as a parent to pass down, swimming and bike riding.  D'arcy was an eager learner.  Julian is a reluctant learner.  D'arcy had these skills down at five.  Julian is almost seven.  I'm no good at parenting a reluctant learner, but I'm learning when to push the point, how to encourage, and when to give him space.  Oh, and plus, I have a great co-parent who put a lot of time in with Julian over this vacation week to help develop these skills.
Stephen's grandma isn't in the best of health.  She is almost ninety-two.  She didn't get to come to South Carolina so we went to her in Southern Georgia.  She had asked D'arcy and Julian to play piano for her.  Maggie Lu wanted to contribute to the entertainment, and sang several verses of Let It Go with great poise.  It wasn't the choice of song, but the confidence of execution that really impressed me and Stephen and I were both a little teary eyed.
I was also proud of Schroeder for whispering, "Somethings wrong with GG's eye instead of declaring it to everybody."

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