Sunday, August 22, 2010

Singular moments in a plural world.... a memorable day

Today was a terrific day.  We visited a spot we haven't been since Fall 2005, Atlantic Highlands and the beaches of Sandy Hook.  When last we strolled this beach, I was pregnant with our second set of twins and our eldest had just turned one.  Today, nearly five years later  as a family of eight, we had two singular moments.

Spending family time without spending a fortune is always a challenge  - perhaps a bit more so with the economies of scale which God is asking Mark and me to manage.  So we look for inexpensive, energy expending options for our Sundays.  It was great to let the kids run around and enjoy a wet and windy day.  Our first venture out of the van didn't work so well.  The skies opened and we all got soaked.  Running full speed into the visitor center we enjoyed  a short movie on (and learned more than any one person should know) the mating and migration patterns of the Great Egret. We returned to the van and drove the length of the island, checked out the Coast Guard post including the lighthouse all the while praying for a cloud break.  It came eventually and we were able to have some fun.

You have to understand that from the moment Mark and I became parents, our world turned plural.  It took until my 5th child to get to experience nursing one baby.  Just this summer was our first vacation during which we had only to change one diaper.  So moments when we can  share a once in a lifetime occurence with one of our children or even better, spend solo with just one of the children are treasures in our hearts. 

Today, we had two treasures.  Simon met the ocean.  They got along nicely.

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After our stroll, some beachcombing and a snack we headed home to a chorus of "thankyous" from the back seats of the twelve passenger van that is our family car.  The chatter continued for quite a while - one sibling regaling the other with a story or memory from the day until the van grew very silent as we approached the GSP.  The only noise (other than snoring) was a gentle humming from the seat behind me.  Patrick was singing to himself one of his new favorite tunes.  Friends of ours gifted us  this summer with boxes upon boxes of Disney videos (yes VHS tapes!) which our kids are gobbling up.  A particular favorite is The Jungle Book (1967) based on the Rudyard Kipling story.  Mowgli's attitude and toughness remind me a lot of Pat; it must be one of the reasons Pat loves it so already. 

Our second treasure of a rainy Sunday afternoon outing.  A serenade by Patrick.  Music to the ears.

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I'm coming to see that creating singular moments in our plural world is in fact a bare necessity for me and Dad.  A great day and a great lesson for me.

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