Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Upside of Winter in New England

It's no secret that it's been a rough winter all-around, but this winter is one of the worst we New Englanders have seen in quite a few years.

One thing that's gotten me through each snowstorm and frigid day is the knowledge that in just a few months when the warm weather finally arrives, we'll be able to head for the beach whenever we feel like it.

Living in Rhode Island affords us the luxury of having many beaches within as little as 35-40 minutes door to door. We head for the beach on just about every nice summer day there is.

Lately, even the Mad Hatter has been talking about how she can't wait to go to the beach. She mentions it at least once a day! On the way to preschool the other day, she told me she thought it would be a great day to go to the beach because the sun was out. Yes, to her, any sunny day means that spring is here.

Sadly, I had to break the news that it was a bit cold for the beach, and alas, we were continuing on to school instead.

But today, she got her wish!

Last night, the dreaded Tummy Tornado blew through town, taking Hubby prisoner (he managed to dodge it a month ago when both MH and I got it) and I wanted to get the hell out of dodge give him a chance to rest without his faithful and uber-concerned 4 year old nurse daughter checking on him every 2 minutes.

It was sunny and the temperature was headed towards the low 50's. Even though it would be cooler by the water, I figured bundling up and getting some fresh air would be the safest thing to do a great way to spend the day. We called Sweetheart and Poppy to see what they were up to and before we knew it, the four of us were on our way.

We went to Galillee, a seaside area in Narragansett well-known for its abundance of clam shacks and seafood restaurants. We went to a yummy little place for some clamcakes and chowder ("chowda" to most Rhode Islanders). The MH was content with a hot dog.

The beach we chose was a stone's throw from the restaurant, and one I have vivid memories of from growing up. It has a great play area for kids filled with swings and a great jungle-gym. Many other families had the same idea we did, and everyone was so happy to be outdoors with the even the slightest promise of spring in the air. We chatted it up with other happy beach-goers and MH quickly joined in with all of the other kiddos running wild. (note to self: the parents with the cooler and wine glasses were genious, must remember that next trip)

First, however, she was anxious to go on the "big-girl" swings and show off her mad "pumping" skillz.

The funniest moment of the day, hands-down, was when she dropped to the ground and made "sand" angels. And then asked us to "bury" her (something she loves to have done during the summer). Even with all those winter clothes on, she didn't lose her vision of what we should do at the beach!

Finally, we decided to make our way further onto the beach. Within minutes, the MH was collecting treasures. So many, in fact, that Sweetheart quickly went back to the car to get a bag for all the goodies we were destined to take home with us. Special care was taken to find the perfect shells for Daddy that would make him feel better.

We found lots of great stuff we don't normally come across during the summer - Mommy's treasures being two perfectly intact scallop shells. We also found beautiful stones, snail shells, and brought home lots of periwinkle shells that have perfect holes for stringing onto a necklace for the MH (after I sterilize them, of course).

These days, she's usually running from her crazy mommy and the camera, but today, she begged me to take the next shot. It actually took her several minutes to find the perfect rock to sit on! (the quality is awful - I was so busy making sure DH was all set and that I had everything I needed for the day, I ran out of the house without my camera and had to use my cell phone - but hey, a captured image is still an image!)

I can't begin to describe the sheer joy I had watching my little girl this afternoon. She was carefree (as always), full of energy (as always), full of personality (as always), and full of zest for life (as always!). However, I loved watching the world through her eyes - seeing the beach of summer completely transformed into a different place. A place that is the same in the fact that there is water, sand, and lots to explore, yet so different. A place where Mommy's nose was running from the cold air and gloved-fingers were still frozen, yet the MH could have run around No crowds, no boundaries, no having to hold hands, no being told to slow down and stay with Mommy. Just pure freedom.

I'm always blown away by how easily she interacts with others; how quickly she makes friends with children and adults alike. And also by how happy she is to be both in the company of others or off in her own little world, exploring away.

And of course, the most special part of the day was getting to spend it with Sweetheart and Poppy. They have such strong memories of doing the same trip years ago with my brother and I, yet experiencing it with their only grandchild - their complete pride and joy - is entirely different.

I see their pride in me as a parent, and the complete joy and exhilaration they get out of spending time with their adoring granddaughter. We could not be luckier to have these amazing people as such a huge part of our daily life.

The only thing missing was Daddy (and I'd be lying if I said MH did not shed some tears on the ride down because she missed him so). However, when we returned home, both exhausted and exhilarated, Daddy was out of bed and feeling a lot better. MH helped out even more by doling out lots of kisses, gentle touches, and "treasures".

Something tells me it'll be a while before we can go back to the beach of summer as we know it, and we might just have time for another visit or two in our winter gear. Next trip, we'll be sure to have both Daddy and the real camera in tow!

3 Fabulous Replies:

Dana said...

Wow, sounds like you had such a great day. Sand funny! And sand angels with a winter coat even funnier.

You are so lucky to have your family so close by, and it shows that you are very grateful for it too.

Poppy said...

Rach honey, you stole every thought away from me and I am sure "sweetheart", as I watched you and MH romping around the sand yesterday. The only two missing were the DH and "The Uncle"

Shana said...

Sounds like a wonderful way to spend the day! What a fun sweet little girl you have!!!