there's a beach up north that we go to, every summer. in reality, the lake water is far from pretty, and the sand doesn't feel especially warm between the toes. but it's become a family tradition to go there and nowhere else. in that vicinity there is another lake which is slightly prettier and has warmer sand. but the only time we went there, it was raining, and sister1 broke her hand. so that place will forever have negative associations. so we continue to go to "our lake" as we've come to think of it.
today, we continued the tradition, by packing up the vans with food, chairs, sunblock, blankets, towels, the umbrella, and headed up.
some things have changed over the years. instead of having to leave the beach to eat, we can now eat on the beach, as long as we don't leave too much garbage. the kids who once sat in playpens now swim out all the way to the rope. the old football blanket has been upgraded to a Neat Sheet. and the umbrella which always seemed huge to me, now barely has enough room for three of us to cram our chairs into its shade without bumping knees.
but some things have stayed the same. my out-of-town aunt's youngest child was wearing the "born to be wild" t-shirt". my other aunt's youngest child wore a flowered bucket hat. the kids played in the sand, creating the usual, sandcastles, forts, tunnels, and mud puddles, and still love to play that game where they go all the way back to the wall, hold hands, and charge into the water, splashing and laughing, until they all collapse on top of each other.
since i don't relish the idea of swimming in clothing, i stayed under the umbrella with cousin L who doesn't really like the beach, and missed her sister E (who's in camp) who usually builds sandcastles with her. she hung out with me and the aunts while we painted our toes, and chatted on the phone, and ran in after M who is 2 years old but doesn't have a fear of water, something that is really cute in the pool, but really scary at a lake.
the big excitement of the day was when the lifeguard saw S bobbing up and down on his toes, and thinking he was drowning (even though the child's mother told the lifeguard he was fine) ran in to rescue him. (for a detailed imitation of the lifeguard, including his whistle-string-spinning-abilities, see cousin L) but this display of heroic rescue showed that the lifeguard was vigilant in watching the lake.
we came home, tired, sweaty and full of sand. everyone got dutifully hosed down before entering the pool, and shook the last vestiges of sand out of the bags. it was a great day, one more experience to add to the tradition of Lake T Day (ole, ole)