Monday, July 30, 2007

Children Of The Sand

The week at the beach went off without a hitch, mostly. The wild card in this whole trip was the kids, all eight of them. That's eight little wild cards and they're all Jokers. But they did pretty well, considering. They got along well, for the most part. There was some arguing, naturally, but considering the amount of time they all spent together the percentage of time spent defending the territory of the couch, the damn blue chair, The Admiral's lap, a hermit crab, the color orange, a towel, a television station and a juice box, was pretty small. Their skirmishes and their playfulness weren't all that unexpected since these kids spend so much time together in Memphis. In fact, what surprised me the most, I think, was the way all of us adults handled the children and what a wide berth we allowed them. Upon arrival speeches and threats were made that no child was to wander down to the beach and the water without an adult, and that if an adult was already down there then that child was to make his or her presence known to the adult on duty. That lasted about 12 hours. After that, when the kids asked if they could go to the beach then the answer was, "Yes" and then, as an after thought, "Don't get in the water!" And they didn't. They scurried around in the sand collecting shell parts (there were hardly any full shells on our beach), digging holes and tormenting crabs, but they never broached the surf and we didn't lose any of them ... that I know of.

The adults were as relaxed as I've ever seen us. And, while there was plenty of imbibing, it never got out of hand, the youngest people were never in danger. However, there was the epiphany on one of the last nights that if we were to get out of hand, if we were to pass around the Benadryl for one night of peace (this never happened) then the worst the Department of Human Services would do is take the kids from us. Take the kids from us? As punishment? Hang on, let me just pack a few things for them. Now remember, they require 12 hours of exercise a day, 18 hours of sleep and they feed mostly on cold cuts and hermit crabs.

If any of The Octet are able to take any memories from this trip - C will, but the others may be too young and are possibly already confused why there is sand in their crevices - then I hope those memories are full of salt and sand, juice and chocolate, fire and late nights, sun and smiles.