Monday, July 20, 2015

{my dog & my beach}

Two significant things happened to my family this spring. They were both really, really hard & being away from it all was both helpful & tough. The physical distance removed me from the thick of it, but it may catch up to me when I go home in a few weeks.

In March, my parents decided to sell our beloved beach house. I knew they were thinking about doing it, but I did this thing where I convinced myself it would never happen...until it did. And even though I understood all of the reasons, it didn't make it any less easy. For any of us.

This summer is the first summer in 20 years that I won't be going to LBI. And it is painful. Being out here in California, living this adult life, I am so nostalgic for those childhood summer days. The days where my sibs & I would run into our rental house with sandy toes (which was carpeted!); build forts during the thunderstorm nights; bike to the end of the island for ice cream at the Carousel; dance on the coffee table to the Gyspy Kings in our underwear while my stepdad was grilling & my mom was setting the table; feeling sticky from sweat & sunscreen; choosing which colors of thread to wrap our hair in; having breakfast & hot cocoa on the beach in our soft LBI sweatshirts; picking up a raspberry pie & cider donuts the second we arrived on the island; chasing Cooper down the beach after he spotted a seagull; smelling the salty air once you hit the bridge from Manahawkin.

Our time at LBI changed over the years, but in may ways it stayed the same. We bought our own beach house instead of renting & didn't dance to the Gypsy Kings in our underwear & stopped building forts. We switched our ice cream place to somewhere else since the Carousel turned into Poppy's (& even though they used the same ice cream recipe, it still wasn't the same). We didn't get hair wraps, & Dyl & I stopped eating the donuts & pies because, well, celiac.

But... we still had breakfast on the beach; that classic salty smell was still the same on the bridge; I still covet my soft, favorite LBI sweatshirts that smell like home; and we still chased Cooper down the beach because Cooper never stopped chasing birds.

Our dog left us soon after our beach house did, & if the house stung, this was torture. He made our human family of six a true family of seven—always there since he came into our lives one fateful Valentine's Day. He was the most peculiar, strange dog I'd ever met & so perfect for our family it was crazy.

I'm dreading this one particular moment in a few weeks. My mom, stepdad, & siblings have all experienced this, but soon I will join the club: I will walk into our house & hear a silence that isn't filled with the paws of our dog racing to greet me at the door. Besides my family, if there was one thing I loved more than LBI, it was Cooper.

I'd always told myself that when the day came to sell the beach house, I'd fly home & stay there one more time. And when we knew that Cooper was really sick, I'd fly home & take him on one last walk. I didn't get either of those goodbyes—& I think that was a good thing—but I do know that my last time with and at each was perfect.

Life, you know? Life. It ends & it changes & it's really hard sometimes, but most of the time it's really great. This season of change for my family, especially my mom & stepdad, is a tough one. But we're all still here & the memories we made will live on.

^^I love this one because we're all laughing at Cooper, 
who has been cropped out because he spotted a seagull & 
tried to crawl between my mom's legs

^^his fave spot at the beach house, besides the actual beach :)

ps. LBI posts: here, here, here, & here.

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