Sunday, October 10, 2010

October Tradition: Day at the Beach

Every October, somehow, there is at least one gorgeous weekend where the weather is a flashback to summer.  Today it was close to 80 and sunny, so we did what we always do on those rare October days.  We went to the beach for the afternoon.

The girls read books together in the backseat the whole way down to Dunes State Park in Saugatuck, shouting up music requests from time to time (Bob Marley is a current favorite).  We hiked a longer path to the beach than we usually do, so of course I did a fair amount of carrying Jemma, but the temperature was perfect and the sun was dappling the trees in shades of orange and yellow, and I didn't mind.

We crested the last, big, sandy hill and saw Lake Michigan sparkling below.  The girls cheered, took off their Crocs, and ran at full tilt down to the water, their arms windmilling in the sunshine.  We had taken sand toys, so we spread out everywhere and made drip castles, dug holes, caught ladybugs, and wrote words in the hard-packed sand with sticks.  The water was chilly but not horribly so, and we all went in up to our calves over and over to fetch water and walk down the beach a ways.  I actually got fairly wet,  Jason fell asleep on a sheet for a while (another October beach tradition), Jemma walked a piece of driftwood as a balance beam over and over, and Annie climbed a giant nearby dune four or five times, just for the sheer joy of running down it again and again.

When we were hot and tired and sticky with sand, we walked back through the woods to our car and drove to Saugatuck for ice cream.  But since it was close to 5:00 when we parked the car, we decided to just get dinner first, which we did at Wally's, sitting on tall barstools and gawking at all their Halloween decorations while waiting for our food.  We played twenty questions while we ate.  And THEN we went to Kilwin's for treats and ice cream.

We stopped in to see my parents on our ride home, then watched the sun set out the car windows the rest of the way back.  I thought about how lucky I am to have a happy, healthy little family to laugh with on the beach on an October afternoon.  I thought about how, the next time my toes are in Lake Michigan, things will have changed again, as they always do, and how this is one more string in a long, long series of fun little family traditions we're building one outing at a time.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds wonderful!! I was wishing for a lake or open outdoor pool this weekend (and a healthy kid to take in October!)