We’re just back from our family vacation to Holden
Beach.  I guess summertime is truly
upon us.  We were supposed to go
for the entire week, but with make-up days for snow, the first in several
years, we chose to miss the first couple of days of the beach trip.  Harper Lee really wanted to participate
in Field Day and Isaac’s pre-school graduation was on Tuesday.  We left at noon on Tuesday, didn’t miss
either event, and only played hooky for the last two days of school.

The beach, as always, was awesome.  We met Rob’s mom down there so the kids get lots of grammy
time, and Rob and I get much more rest than we would on our own.  In fact, I read two books, several
magazines, got some runs in and took a nap everyday.  I also didn’t cook for four days.  Rob says his mom enjoys it, and she says she likes cooking
for other people, which she rarely gets to do; I hope so because I was a total
bum and didn’t do anything.  I
think I may have made a margarita… once.

The kids, of course, had a wonderful time as well.  There were kites to fly and waves to
catch, but the highlight of this year’s trip was what they referred to as “clam
farming”.  Basically, they scooped
piles of wet sand up from the beach and searched for tiny clams right where the
fringes of the surf skirted the shore.
They found a surprising number and quickly put them into a small
self-made tidal pool near their work area.  Part of the fun was finding them, but the other part was
watching as the clams suddenly and without warning up-ended themselves and
burrowed down into the sand, disappearing completely from view.  This elicited squeals of laughter and
more digging.  Harper Lee announced
that she would like to become a professional clam farmer.  Who knew that one could spend hours
each morning digging for tiny clams and watching them furiously burrow back
into the beach?  I have to admit it
was really fun.  If it weren’t for
the pesky money part, I might consider becoming a professional clam farmer
myself.  Instead, I’m working
towards becoming a professional writer.
Oh, wait…

They also toyed with the idea of setting up a seashell
stand.  This endeavor began late
one afternoon, but what with free shells everywhere, making a profit seemed
slim, and giving stuff away loses its appeal after a while.  This business was abandoned for the
much more gratifying work of clam farming the next morning.

Thus began our summer vacation, a succession of long, hot
days filled with exciting discoveries and child-made adventure.  I say child-made because it occurs to
me that the really great activities Harper Lee and Isaac engage in are most
often totally designed by them and have very little to do with me.  I will still come up with art projects
and garden activities, and I’ll set up the sprinkler and suggest we make
popsicles, but the best summer fun is found when they are left to their own
devices for a while.
Unfortunately, it would never have occurred to me to dig for small clams
or that such a thing would produce such joy and wonderment for such an extended

Summertime is the best time to let them really see the world
through their own eyes, which I have to admit is a pretty awesome way to see
things.  I might make a suggestion
about using pokeberry juice and an old chicken feather to scratch out secret
letters and treasure maps for one another or that ragweed makes an aromatic
herb for gourmet mudpies, but I think the rest will be up to them.  They can come up with some pretty
interesting stuff all on their own.
Right now, there’s a toad in a galvanized tub sitting outside my
door.  He was captured last night
before supper and has enjoyed a pretty killer habitat that I had nothing to do
with.  He will be released after
breakfast this morning and after Isaac has had time to photograph him with his

Meanwhile, I’m wondering what adventures await us
today.  In the summer, anything is