A Place to Laugh at Life…or Not!

Posts tagged ‘summer vacation’


Have You Kissed a Clam Today?

Life's Beautiful Moments via Getty Image

Life’s Beautiful Moments
via Getty Image


Spectacular summer moments of June!  Would you like to hear about one of them?

First—can I just say I love being home? At my house. “Beautiful view, near city lights without city hassles, sunny weather, swimming pool, with all the conveniences of home.” I read that on a vacation brochure and thought, ‘Well, they just described my very own place!”

And I think about that each morning that I wake up WITHOUT an alarm clock sending me off to school. I have issues with alarm clocks. Who doesn’t?? I try to wake up before it rings so I don’t have to hear it. But…who cares? During June, I just wake up whenever!!


So I took my parents out to visit my sister in San Diego. And I adore her. The visit was definitely a spectacular summer moment. Not only because her house is resort-like (seriously) but because I kissed a clam.

The beach was soft, soft and warm, deep with healing sand that envelops the soles of your feet and spans for miles. No people. How did that miracle happen? Just a half dozen birds hopping around making tracks.

And I just get breathless when I see the ocean! It’s like I’m seeing God or something—so powerful and mysterious and inviting and cosmic. And whenever my toes touch the waves I am transformed into the liquid universe of all the shores the Pacific touches. And I am immersed in all the world, past or present; what has been and what will be.

And my dad said, “I feel ready to get knocked down by a few waves.” So we walked slowly out, slowly and deliciously, into the grayish blue, skin tingling and shivery.   Waist-deep,  we steadied ourselves, anticipating the approach of each rolling, foaming swell., “Awwww, here comes a good one!”  we’d holler.  And our legs would teeter and quiver at first but not for long. We braced ourselves against the ocean’s force, securing our feet into the indescribable sand beneath the waves.

Then my right foot touched something hard. And round and smooth. I registered a few questions in my head like, ‘Ummm….what do stingrays feel like?’ And ‘There’s not a single stone on this whole beach, how did my foot find one?” So as the wave receded, I bent down so low that my face got wet, and pulled out the most magnificent golden clam you could ever imagine!

“Dad! Dad, look!” It was surprisingly heavy, about a foot across, and I had to hold onto it with both hands. The left side had a little slip of flesh hanging from it, but other than that it was tightly closed. It felt solid and cold, but warm too. And I had the most amazing feeling that The Clam knew it was safe with me.

Dad was impressed. As the waves continued their rhythmic pounding, I held the clam overhead, high as my two hands could reach. My arms stretched into the sky and I just held them there for a bit.

“You gonna see what’s inside it?”

“No Dad,” I smiled, recognizing that the little girl he’d known in me over the decades would have done exactly that. The clam was not a curiosity for me. I knew what was inside it. Something alive, that’s what. I pressed my lips to it.   Silly, I know. But the decades of my life have taught me exquisite things, and this moment was something to celebrate. It was the best way I knew how to say thank you.

Then, I reached back down through the salty water, the movement of my long hair flowing back and forth beneath the surface. My fingers scraped aside a little sand and I tucked the clam into its home, burying it the best I could into the cold ocean floor.

And I walked back with my dad toward shore, both of us slightly off balance each time a wave slammed us from behind.

“Have you kissed a clam today?” my dad chuckled, stepping onto dry ground. I helped him wrap a towel around his shoulders.

“Somehow, Dad, I’m gonna make sure I kiss a clam every day.”  Dry sand clung to our ankles as we made our way back.  “Every single day.”



Pool’s Ready!
School in Session

        The moment has come! My husband, The Pool Guy, who devotes himself (almost) entirely to having a happy wife, has consumed enormous amounts of hours and  $$ to de-winterizing our backyard swimming pool! (Since “winterize” is a real word, it’s a pity I can’t say “summerize.” But that gets a little complicated. De-winterize will have to do.)
Of course, it would be nice if pool care were truly “finished,” but all who own pools know that sort of fun in the sun has only begun. (Take note, it rhymes) But, no worries for me! It’s his job to clean the pool. Me, I do ….pretty much everything else.


As I look out over the fresh light blue, sparkling water that awaits my tired body, I’m thinking how nice it will be when I can actually dive in at any time of the day. In about 3 weeks. I think I’ll call it Anticipatory Set.
I’m a school teacher, life coach, writer, mother, and a lover of life. As the big Last Day of School rapidly approaches, I confess I found familiarity with Jen Hatmaker, the author of one of the funniest posts I have ever read. Located in Huffingtonpost.com, the article is entitled  “Worst End of School Year Mom Ever.”

“We are limping, limping across the finish line, folks.”  Hilarious.

The author describes her conscientious mommy efforts back in September, and the grave contrast in the middle of May. She’s listening to her emergent reader offspring sound out w-o-r-d-s for the 688 millionth time. For 9 months she’s been packing lunches, making costumes, checking homework, reading school correspondence. And now she’s only doing it…sorta. She’s pooped!
Like anyone–moms, dads, principals, bus drivers, school teachers, crossing guards–we’re pooped, too!  Heck, the students are pooped!  It’s that warm spring sunshine pouring into our windows, triggering happy chaos in our heads. It’s not that we don’t adore our children, our students, our jobs.  The World has trained us to start stocking up on beach towels right about now. I mean, when that ridiculous Ice-Cream-Man music sallies up and down the lane, don’t your kids start digging into the sofa cushions looking for quarters?  It’s like autoplay.

That’s why I was more than a little disturbed that someone could even THINK to make a negative comment at the end of Jen’s article. “All children are valuable,” said the commentor, “and their education matters right up to the end, whether or not their mother is tired.” Basically, she was calling out the author for laughing at herself, for making light of the fact that sending five children off to school on the 167th day of the year has officially been declared Overwhelming.
I felt sad for that mom. The mom that saw no humor in that. I thought, she probably bakes homemade Ding Dongs just so she can slip a little kale in there.

I began to envision that Mama obsessively-compulsively-disorderly writing out a chart scheduling her children’s summer days. Of course she’s right!  Not only is every child valuable, but every day is valuable!  Is school-attendance-with-shipshape-parents the only way kids can learn?

Something inside me wanted to beckon that lady’s inner child.

If you’re a mom (or dad) who frets about what living things might be growing inside your child’s backpack, take heart! Education does not end on the 180th day of school!  Every day is a learning day!   Bare-feet-in-the-grass, sleeping bags, cloud shapes, lemondade stands, caterpillars, mud pies, rain dances, treehouses, tide pools…  Maybe even a legendary road trip or two!  As your children watch you embrace the richness of their world, your spontaneity and adaptability will be forever imprinted.  Breathe deeply, Mama,and relax!  The end of the school year is a terrific time to anticipate all the other  ways to learn.  Your child’s mind is swimming with ideas.

Which reminds me…