behind the door

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well, The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge to share an image of a door got updated this morning literally right after i decided i would go for it and write this post. okay, so whatevs. this is more a story than a photo, anyway. it’s definitely not a great photo. nor is it a great door. the numbers hang crooked and a few cobwebs hang in the corners above it. the tiled hallway that leads to it is always covered with sand and strewn with beach bags, toys and flip flops. but it is the entrance to the place i’ve lived for the past 6 days and the place where we’ve spent a week every July for 4 years now with 2 of our best friends from Richmond and their children.

the modest little beachfront condo that lies behind this door is currently filled with a holy disasterpiece (as Miss Girl would say). there are a thousand markers, paper airplanes, towels, blankets, bathing suits and half-eaten plates of lunch scattered and piled on every surface within a 5 year old’s reach. i dread this evening’s last-night ritual of pulling our shit together (and our of every corner) in anticipation of packing the cars and evacuating at the ungodly early hour of 10:00 tomorrow morning.

but the other, more important thing this condo is filled with is memories.

there was the babysitter who mixed up the kids. at bedtime, she separated T&R, who had never spent a night apart, and couldn’t figure out why R was screaming bloody murder and wouldn’t go down.

there were the midwesterners who apparently had never seen a beach and had no idea how to act on one. from bottled beers to fireworks in the preserve area to sitting on top of us, they were a disaster.

there was the first year, when the kids, too scared to go into the ocean, jumped and splashed in every tidal pool they saw. that same year, Miss Girl was terrified of the sticks (washed up seagrass) and had to be carried across them to get to where we’d set up our tent. and the following year, we experienced the terrifying joy of watching them all love the water and the million priceless moments that followed where Miss Girl and her cousins played on the beach and in the water, chasing seagulls, building sand castles and punching waves.

there were the late nights the grown-ups spent on the wrap-around porch that overlooks the Atlantic, reminiscing, solving the world’s problems and toasting our own good fortune to be able to be together in this wonderful spot. on this porch and this beach, we’ve discussed the crucial details of major life issues: 2 layoffs, 2 new jobs, how to be a better wife/husband, our aging parents, the death of a beloved mutual friend and the never-ending questions and concerns that come along with being parents. we’ve also fallen easily into the mundane daily routines of who cooks, who cleans, who sets up the beach tent, who goes for bike rides and who reads the bedtime stories. and it all makes sense.

this year, nobody has been that excited to go down to the beach. it’s too hot. it’s too sandy. granted, Miss Girl’s eczema is flaring up and she says the water stings . . . though, if she could just get in it, it would probably be the best thing for her. i would love nothing more than to spend all day every day down there. nobody even went down today until 5:00.

after 3 years of leaving all our stuff on the beach every night, all our chairs got stolen the very first night. (pro tip: don’t buy new beach chairs at the beach if you want to hang on to your hard-earned cash.)

the kids have been insane jumping around the condo for hours on end. they’re all always hungry. and any period of relative peace has been fleeting at most. an outing to Savannah didn’t seem to provide the kind of change of pace that the kids (or anyone) needed to reclaim their bliss. a jaunt into town today for the promised souvenir shopping was lackluster aside from the instant gratification part. i have been wholly unable to get any photos of the kids doing anything cute because they are being such moody maniacs. Spy has been dealing with a sprained ankle and a summer cold and hasn’t been his normal champion of fun . . . i’m starting to worry that this might be the beginning of the end for this repeat adventure.

so when i mulled this post over during my workout at the Y this morning and snapped the photo upon my arrival home, i had to wonder if this is one of those times in life you have the privilege of knowing that this time is the last time. i’ve taken a lot of pictures today and spent a lot of time reflecting. just in case. maybe it’s just me. nobody has spoken about it. and when we do, and if it is, i’ll always know that this door was the entry-way to some of the best memories our 2 families will ever have.

we’ll always have 303 Ft. Screven! see you next year?

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