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.

I’m back.

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?



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13 responses to “Back

  1. Great post! Hey, unless your name is Mother Nature, you can’t control the weather. So ya did what you had to do, blahblahblah. I’m sure that the kids will always remember this vaca, just because they got to spend time with you! No phones, no computer, just Mama. I’m sure that was a huge treat for them 🙂

  2. I love that you’re back. And your family’s backs. And pictures of backs in general. I really do because it often captures life in motion – not a forced moment to face the camera and generate a smile that looks like you’re having a good time. A back sometimes means you’re too busy having a blast to turn around for the camera.

    My favorite is the one of daddy and the kids looking out at the ocean. And lady, wish I could rock a bikini the way you rock yours. Wow!

    I’m so glad the sun finally came out for you guys.

  3. I was in the rain too, and wow, not awesome.
    I love pictures of my kids’ backs. I take them a lot that way – especially, it seems, pictures of them walking away from me. The symbolism only occurred to me after the fact (I’m a little slow).

  4. Nicki

    I love the photos! I think any and all photos are good. I take photos and others ask why did you just do that. Because I can…LOL!

    Sorry vacation wasn’t what you were hoping for but it sounds like it was full of wonderful family time!

  5. I’m glad that you found so happiness during your vacation. I know how disappointing it can be when it doesn’t turn out as you had hoped. But still, you have some lovely Back photos to show for your time away.

  6. I do love pictures of people’s backs! I’ve always thought it odd, so I’m glad that I’m not alone in loving those shots. Sorry you had some crummy weather–it’s always disappointing when that happens.

  7. Those are gorgeous photos! I love that one of you and the kids.

    I also take a lot of photos of backs. There is something about capturing people when they are completely unaware. Such natural and pure moments.

    Crappy that you had so much rain! I’m glad you got a few (couple) good days in!

  8. That’s the thing about real life right? It isn’t always roses. Oh how I know it. But you deserved some roses and I’m sad it was such a bummer, but I seem glimmer of loveliness in your words and I see joy in those photos even if they are of people’s backs, because they might be of people’s backs but they are of people who are living, walking along, taking in what joy there was to be had.

    Welcome home! May next time be twice what you hope to make up for this year.

  9. Becca, so happy you are back. Some of my favorite pictures of my kids are of them facing away from the camera, catching a glimpse of what they are seeing. Lovely pictures, glad you made the best of it…vacations with young children are always so exhausting…it will get better!

  10. Pop

    “pictures of people looking Out at life can be so much more beautiful at times than faces focused at the camera”

    Wonderfully put. There’s so much hope, especially in the pictures of your kids looking out at life.

    And it looks like you need to get out to your swing (hung in the front) and get some rejuvenation.

  11. I absolutely adore pictures of peoples back…they are secretive in a way!!

    A week of rain….well let me say you probably handled it much better than I would…

  12. Liz

    Oh, what a bummer! I HATE when it rains on vacation…especially beach vacations. I hate when people say not to stress about the weather before I go, that we’ll make the best of it, that it’s still vacation….because, really, I could be shut up at home, not taking time off of work or spending money when it rains. I’d like to say I handle rained out vacation well, but…I don’t.
    As for the back pics…I do that too. I do find them to be romantic and authentic. One of my faves is of Ben on the beach waving at the moon when he was under 2. It’s blown up and in our kitchen. People sometimes ask why we didn’t put one up where you could see his face….
    P.S. When is Hannah’s first day of kinder???

  13. I still can’t believe you got the only 4 days of rain in a row we had ALL summer! Your pictures are lovely. My fave is the kiddos and dad at sunset. I hope you had fun in the sunny moments and we’ll have to get together another time!

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