I’ve heard about it for years, summers in the Outer Banks. So many of our neighbors disappear for weeks in the summer and while I've heard about it, it wasn't appealing on a number of levels. First of all, I don't really want to worry about cooking and linens and cleaning up after my kids...I do that at home, I want to be worry-free on vacation. But over this year’s spring break we got a great offer, and it seemed like a good way to finally see what the fuss was all about. A good friend, Kate, recently purchased a home in Pine Island, Outer Banks.
With the spacious outlay, swimming pool, proximity to the ocean, her firm guarantee that we do not have to worry about linens or cleaning up and we'll just have take-out for dinner and make sandwiches for lunch, we couldn’t refuse! In the two months Kate and her husband Tom have owned the house, she updated the bedding, purchased new furniture and familiarized herself with the places to visit, best restaurants, coffee shops, etc. She proposed the trip as an opportunity to get away from our monotonous schedule and bring the kids to a new locale. She has four children and she invited another friend, Betty, with her four children and of course my husband and me with our two kids.
It was an eventful trip to say the least. Upon arriving, we took a walk along the ocean and my kids were in heaven. There were seashells galore on the beach. Despite the cool weather, we spent an hour collecting shells. Rohan was excited about the mermaid pockets or shark eggs; he also found a stingray shell. Asha picked shells and then she wanted to build sandcastles and make sand angels. With this much excitement on the first day, we were thrilled about beach time on the warmer days.
Well as luck would have it warmer days would not arrive during our short stay. And? Of the ten kids in the house, one started throwing up the first day we arrived. Then we found out that it wasn't the first time, he had been sick earlier as well. We were nervous and torn, should we leave right away or take our chances and enjoy the stay? We opted to warn our children to wash their hands frequently and be conscientious about not drinking from anyone's cup but their own. Our host washed all the towels and blankets and did her best to sterilize what she could. What a conundrum for any parent! You get invited to the beach and one of your kids gets sick...what do you do? Keep driving and hope for the best? Or, turn around knowing the other three kids will go stir crazy over Spring Break especially with your husband out of town? It's a dilemma...we all think we know what we'll do until we are put in that position.
The next day we woke up to rainy bleak weather. We took our kids out to see the town and have lunch. In the afternoon, the men braved the beach with the kids while we ladies went shopping for a couple of hours. I see these women often. Our kids are in preschool together and we live in the same neighborhood. We pop into each other’s homes with ease and I enjoy being around them. But being away from home, just trying on clothes and chatting about life for a couple of hours on a carefree afternoon was such a pleasant intimacy. It was a camaraderie that's difficult to experience when we're running through the hectic days of our lives.
We returned to the beach house refreshed and with new clothes in hand only to experience a second child throwing up. Oh boy...we had planned to leave the following day but it seemed like we were doomed to someone getting sick before we could make our exit. Ironically, it was a sibling who was the second victim of the stomach bug. Betty felt terrible and offered to watch all ten kids so the other adults could go out and enjoy a nice dinner. She had barely finished making her offer when our host Thomas was on the phone making a dinner reservation. We had a nice dinner and we talked about issues again that rarely come up at home even though we have dinner often with this couple. There is something about being on vacation that gives people license to delve into issues that seem far too heavy at home. A very vibrant and raw dinner discussion later, we returned to find our children in pajamas ready for bed; one of mine was already asleep. A little crazy but overall successful day I would say.
It's early in the morning on our last day here. It's been far more interesting than I expected. Despite rainy cool weather and more screen time for all the kids then should be necessary when vacationing at the beach, the kids did play well. I hate to admit it but it’s not such a bad thing for the kids to play on the beach in long sleeves, my son prefers it that way. It’s also not so bad that we couldn’t wear bathing suits all day long…I prefer it that way! There were no major meltdowns except for one ten-year old who felt that in ten kids, he didn't have a single friend with whom to play...okay and the one child who fell off the banister onto the floor a level below…and there were a couple of other falls here and there. There was adult drama too but none I'm free to blog about; let's just say that the salt air inspired many confessions and secrets, ones we may never talk about when we get back into the confines of our neighborhood. It's just something about being in the Outer Banks...maybe that's why people keep coming back!