Thanks to the generosity of some family members, the boys and I were able to take another vacation this year. We spent a wonderful week at a beach house in North Myrtle Beach with my mom, my aunt, two cousins (and their kids), and a few other friends.
The boys and I spent LOTS of time on the porch, on the beach, playing in the sand, and a few hours here and there sleeping. ;) A few mornings we were on the beach before 7am playing in the tide pools (which were wonderful!) and watching hermit crabs while looking for shells to throw into the waves.
As much as I loved being with family and near the water (yes, the house was ON the beach, which was great!), I think my favorite thing was watching my boys learn to play with their cousins and interact with others. After so many months of isolation it was hard not to worry that we had scarred them for life with regards to their relationships with others, but seeing them learn to take turns, share, deal with frustration from not getting the toy they wanted, etc., was so good. (Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying they LEARNED all that in one week! They had plenty of opportunities to PRACTICE!)
I also loved watching Jamison grow in confidence throughout the week. He is normally somewhat reserved, and was quite cautious at first. (I did appreciate that, given that this was only his third visit to a beach, and he was going to have to learn how things worked.) As the week went on he even tried something new: laying on a boogie board while my cousin pulled him along. Despite his initial hesitation, and only being willing to run alongside while another cousin was pulled on it, he eventually decided he loved it!
Two things that were so cute were the "labels" given the boys by one of their cousins. She dubbed Nathanael "the little fast guy" (probably in comparison to her own brother, who is only 14 months, and walks well, but doesn't move as fast as Nathanael at 25 months). She also said that Jamison, "that OTHER four-year-old, knows a lot of words." after she heard him making up an alphabet song. Both labels kept me laughing at how perceptive she is!
We did have a little trouble when Nathanael woke up Wednesday night (or was that Thursday morning?!) with a fever. Once we gave him some ibuprofin his temperature dropped back to normal, and we were playing on the beach in just a few hours. However, the problem continued even after we got home, so we continued to treat regularly, but once it had been almost a week we saw a few doctors, had blood work drawn, and had a chest x-ray (yes, we spent 6 hours in the emergency room in the middle of the night), and he was finally diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia! After 2 treatments of IV antibiotics he was put on a course of oral medication, and he recovered just fine, without any problems. We are so grateful.
We are grateful for God's provision through our family to have made this week possible. Of course we all missed Brad, but had a fantastic time with family at the beach. :) Though some parts of our week were a lot of work (yes, there were 6 kids ages 4 and under!), we shared and helped each other, and really enjoyed the time together. We will have many fond memories of this summer for years to come.