Between an unexpectedly long lunch (note to self: don't go to the Five Guys in Emporia at noon on a Saturday. And note to Five Guys: put more than one women's bathroom in your restaurant) and random patches of slow and stopped traffic all along I-95, we managed to spend nine hours on what should have taken six hours to drive.
Sunday continued rainy all day and only let up when my little brother Mike put up a prayer so that he could propose to his girlfriend, Adrienne. Almost my entire extended family was there this year (minus one branch. We miss you, Pullans!) and we had a dessert function Sunday night. So Mike thought it might be a good idea to put a ring on Adrienne's finger before the questions got too impertinent and she could could still back out.
But, the weather steadily improved throughout the week and we had a lovely time playing on the beach. Adrienne really proved herself as a worthy in-law by playing with the children and letting them bury her in the sand one day, complete with seaweed hair and beard ("let's pretend she's a boy, okay?")
I managed to survive reasonably well without Brandon, mostly thanks to Eleanor's willingness to take very long naps while we play outside. Brandon was so lonely that he actually told me that the house was too quiet.
It's strange to think that we have been coming to the beach since the year I was born (I have more sympathy for my mother now). I am now re-living my own childhood, but now I'm playing the role of my own mother, right down to the gender mix and number of children. With our ever-changing life, it's nice to have something to always come back to every summer. I'm already looking forward to next year.