The brightest orange sky awoke me this morning. I threw back the covers and little miss stood up in her crib and reached for me. Ahh ahh ahh, it’s too early for you little girl, I pulled her up and put her into her daddy’s arms, and slipped out of the room while she complained. I had a color to study. From the time it took me to pour my coffee and step onto the verandah the shade had altered into an unimpressive gray with only a slice of orange on top and a skinny black cloud hanging over the horizon. I put my camera away and hoped for another day. This house has wrap around windows with a clear blue ocean horizon line cutting through the center. It’s so beautiful that I wouldn’t even decorate a house like this, I would paint it all white and just allow the sky and water to do the entertaining.
Sitting here though is an instant source of joy and relaxation. And I’m thinking if yesterday held so much fun today can only promise more. The cousins are finally assembled for their yearly checkup. Everyone grows so much in a year that it takes us all the first hour of the reunion to look the kids up and down and find out what they’ve been eating to get so tall. The kids glom and glue themselves into a tribe and make a vow not to do anything without everyone else. So they shift from the pool, to the beach, back inside for food, then back again to the beach. For me, all I want is to enjoy their fun with my camera.
Yesterday, being Sunday, and the kind of family we are, we scheduled our own church service. Yes we did. Bibles in hand, quiet submission and worshipful attitudes assembled and Dr. Don and Pastor Dave lead the services. We even took communion. I heard one thing before I was sent downstairs to children’s church with the noise maker, “meekness is not weakness, it is strength under self control.” That’s a good thing for me to meditate on while Kira toddles around peering at the open water and sailing pelicans all in a row. She fell asleep on my back during a short walk along the shore where I observed so many young families and thought what happened to our group…we are all so big and so old. I feel like it was only a shrug ago that I was the mama corralling four little wild boys on the beach with my camera, amidst shovels, pails and dirty towels all before nap time. Oh I remember the value of tiring them out plenty so they would sleep long and give me a much needed break. I don’t feel so old. How can this all happen so swiftly?
Anyway, I returned to church with baby on my back and listened to some of the stories the children were saying about how they have recently experienced God. Their sweet faces are so open and shiny as they told their stories. We had communion together and enjoyed the joining of family in the presence of God. Donny and Brett strummed their guitars, and praise songs were sung. It’s the best way to begin the week. Because we all love Jesus is the reason we remain so loving with one another. He first loved us.
After Kira’s nap, Carol was quick to swoop in on miss priss with the stunning toddling gate and bright eyes. She shooed me away, “get out of here, I don’t want her to see you, I want to take care of her.” I had no problem with that. I ran down to the beach with my camera and captured the fun the teens were having with skim boards. I rode my bike to the store for my kind of food that no one else wants to eat on vacation, brown rice, lentils, broccoli, green tea, almonds, oats. You know, the good for you food that I have come to crave. I need to feel strong at the end of this week since the moving truck will come to my door only days after arriving home, and strength comes from good nutrition, plenty of sleep and adequate exercise.
I wandered to the beach with a book and read what Donny had recommended, Food Rules, where in seven words the whole book can be summarized: eat food, not so much, mostly plants. It was all I’ve been trying to teach the boys for years, and now, he thinks he’s teaching me. I’ll take that as long as it motivates us to live healthy.
We were informed by the Mattessich family, (Craig’s youngest sister) that we were to be ready for the evening’s entertainment at 5:30, after which they would take their turn providing dinner for everyone. In our reunions, every night a family makes dinner for the whole group, and then the rest of the weekwe are off duty from the kitchen. John and Amy had some sort of surprise for us all, and told us to be ready with our cameras and laughter.
We were to have a mock renewal of vows for Grandma and Grandpa who are about to celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary this September. So Friar John appeared in a long brown robe prepared to announce the events of the evening. Next the flower girl ascended the stairs, following a groom dressed as if he were from a cartoon from the Bavarian forest. His bride climbed the stairs clutching a bouquet of purple silk flowers wearing a doily on her head smiling brightly at all her assembled sixteen grandchildren. They stood before friar John accepted the terms and conditions of marriage, which included burnt bread and abominable snoring. Next the groom slipped a 75 carat blinking diamond onto her finger and kissed the bride. There were hors d’ouerves served on the verandah (a bowl of potato chips) and the the first dance sung by “lucas the mucous” (Luke) who performed in usual Italian style. Finally, we flocked the food as all good Italians do and loaded our plates, completely ignoring the “not so much and mostly plants” rule. But special occasions are the times when the rules get tossed into the sea, and I’d say remembering fifty years of marriage is some spectacular reason to celebrate.
With this sort of fun begun in a way to shoot the starting gun for our reunion week on the beach, we all tumbled into bed knowing the next day would offer surprises and fun that we’ll talk about for years. And here I am closing my computer for the day and ready to uncover what joy I can find while the sun hangs bright yellow climbing the sky.