Here I am. Exactly where I was when I wrote my post about being “Off” for vacation. Same spot on the couch. Same routine with Hannah getting up out of bed 16 times before finally falling asleep. Same mess on the floor in front of me.
Sadly, I can’t tell you that I had the most wonderful vacation ever. That it was just what I needed. That I am home feeling refreshed or rested. No, I’m actually just as exhausted as I was when I left, if not more so.
It rained for the first four days of our beach vacation after a summer of record breaking days in a row of sunshine. I actually didn’t pack enough warm clothes and wore Tim’s cozy sweatshirt more days than I wore my own t-shirts. The first four nights I went to sleep to the sound of howling wind and woke up to the pounding of hard rain on the roof. There were no twinkling stars in the sky. The rocking chairs on the deck sat wet and still. We spent days longingly looking out the windows at the beach and the crashing waves. It was painful, really. I’d like to say we enjoyed lazy days cozy on the couch watching movies. Or that we played hours of monopoly while sipping hot chocolate. Or we finished a 2500 piece jig saw puzzle. But I can’t. Because we didn’t. Instead Tim and I joked that we were filming a documentary called “We Really Don’t Like Each Other”. And two days later were filming Part Two entitled, “We’re Really About to Kill One Another.” I became more and more frustrated and angry as the days dragged on with no ray of sunshine in sight.
Yes, we did make “the most” of it. I learned to french brain Hannah’s hair by watching dozens of tutorials on You Tube. She read her first book out loud to me all on her own (Henry and Mudge in Puddle Trouble). We splashed in the waves in raincoats. We were educated in Rhode Island history at the children’s museum. We played mini golf through squinted eyes as the rain wet our eyelashes. We got by. We found some smiles. But it was not ideal. I would have preferred My bed. My couch. My yard in the rain.
But then the sun came out. And we gave each other high fives. Applauded the sun as it peaked out from behind the clouds. Jumped for joy. With two days left, we started our vacation (Very early Thursday morning. At sunrise to be exact.)
Today I’m reliving the days as I look back through my pictures I snapped throughout the week. And I find it interesting how many pictures I took of my family’s back. It took me a while to figure out why I am so drawn to life facing away from me. But I realized that pictures of people looking Out at life can be so much more beautiful at times than faces focused at the camera. Yes, it has something to do with the forced nature of posed vs. candid but it’s more than that. Maybe it’s what’s left to the imagination in not knowing what the expressions on the faces facing away from the camera are. Relying 100% on body language to understand the story. The way the shoulders droop or the head is tilted. The way the arm rests on a shoulder or the legs seem to skip as they move away.
By far my favorite pictures of our week away show no faces. Just backs. Will I be sorry later as I look back on these Backs that I can’t see the smiles (or tears)? That I don’t have many family portraits or shots of the kids looking up at me buried in the sand? I don’t think so. Because the dreamer, the romantic, in me would like to imagine years ahead what we were thinking as we looked toward the sunset, walked hand in hand down the beachside sidewalk, and looked underwear clad in the rain toward the sea.
I’m back. With lots of Backs to show for it.
Hannah and Luke saddled up to the bar for a romantic chocolate milk with two straws.
Blurry is good here.
Do you like pictures of people’s backs?
How would you handle a week of vacation mostly in the rain?