It's for periodic melt downs, and Yahtzee or Checkers games, and crowded beaches where the sand scorches your feet and you stare at the teens who just lay there -- oblivious to everything but their tan lines and phones -- and you can't remember ever experiencing the stage of life when you were responsible just for yourself.
It's for finding sand in the nooks and crevices of kids' bodies, and tossing beach toys in the back of the minivan, and taking an outing to the water park where you count heads, and making sure everyone stays hydrated, and, of course, reapplying sunscreen -- lots of sunscreen.
It's not for rest.
Still, I often begin a vacation with the idealistic notion that I'll have time for quite seaside reflection, and I'll emerge from a perfectly angled adirondack chair into my non-beach life with significant life epiphanies. This doesn't happen, but let me tell you about what did happen this past week.
I saw this bike left in the garage of the house where we stayed.
Maybe it was the soothing aqua color, or the fact that beach terrain, unlike my central Pennsylvania mountains, is always flat, or that a one-speed bicycle with back-pedal brakes reminded me of childhood, but I immediately fell in love with this bike.
We took a few rides throughout the week with our three girls and four nieces and nephews, creating a von-Trapp-like trail that prompted more than one passerbyer to ask, "Are they all yours?" as they nodded to the seven kids between filling the gap between my husband's station in the lead and my position as the rear guard.
But the final night, through some configuration of circumstances that involved the adults jostling rides and taking some kids to mini-golf, I found myself able to steal a solo bike ride.
I don't remember what I thought about that evening, really, or whether I actually thought at all. I just pedaled, following any route I desired. I felt the humid air on my skin and beach breeze in my hair.
And when I stopped, it was here on the bay.
Later as I rode back to the beach house while the sky darkened, I took the longest route possible, not quite wanting the ride to be over. Even with the adirondack chairs, the evening produced no significant life epiphanies, except perhaps that sometimes the best part of a vacation could be as simple as an aqua bicycle.