I just spent my birthday at the beach. It was a nice birthday, but being away from home, somehow it didn't really feel like my birthday. I've only ever spent one other birthday away, and that one was on a cruise. I don't expect that I'll be out in the middle of the ocean for my birthday again - at least not any time soon - and that's okay.
I do hope to spend more birthdays - and more regular days, for that matter - at the beach. Funny, because I was never much of a beach person when I was younger. When we first started vacationing at the shore, it was because my husband liked to come. But over the years, I've come to look forward to our time here as much as he does.
Where we stay has a lot to do with it. When my daughter was 7 or so, we began renting a condo from a colleague of mine. It's an upscale beach place - a golf villa, technically - with pools (yes, that's plural), tennis courts, a golf course and a number of other amenities of which we rarely take advantage. It's about three miles from the beach, family-oriented and usually pretty quiet.
My favorite feature is the screened-in porch off the living room. We typically begin each day out here, and, as I type this, all of us - my husband, my daughter, her friend and I - are ending our day out here as well. I can hear crickets and the occasional duck in the pond, but otherwise, all is still. It is the epitome of relaxation, and between the breeze and the ceiling fan, it feels almost like early fall. Then again, fall is only a little more than a month away.
Birthdays are a time to recall and appreciate blessings - and I have many to appreciate. But they are also a time for wishes, both big and small, and the more birthdays that pass, the higher the wish for a place of our own - one that would allow us to spend even more time here - creeps to the top of the list. We talk about making that big leap down the road - after college, after our mortgage is paid off - but for now it's just a summer wish, one that will evaporate into a wisp come fall when days at the beach are less enticing.
Until then, I will sit out here with my family, listening to the song of the crickets and reminding myself how fortunate we are to be here.