Sunday, August 5, 2007

There's Always a Yang For the Yin.

Or is it the other way around?

I'm just going to put it right up at the top: Sam was stung by a jellyfish. (He's fine. More later.) That's the Yang. The rest of the day was pure Yin.

The whole group went down to visit my stepbrother and his family. My stepsister and her baby son were visiting them, so it was a good time to catch the whole gang at once. I don't get to spend much time with these guys, and haven't actually seen my stepbrother or his family for longer than I can remember. He has three kids, the oldest of which is 13 (I'm pretty sure that's how old she is). The last time I saw her, the oldest, she was 1 year old. That means I haven't seen them for more than a decade. (And I fully became the idiot older relative who says, "Last time I saw you, you were this [point to suitably aged child in the room] big." Yep, I said exactly that. I remember older, distant relatives saying that to me when I was younger and it meant absolutely nothing to me. I'm soooo old.)

My stepbrother, B, is in the navy and lives on a base and took us to go see military helicopters and airplanes. And my kids got to sit in them. And B officially became the coolest person I know. I thought it was about the awesomest thing ever. I can't even imagine what it must have seemed like to the little dudes. I'm pretty sure they're all going to dream about the military-industrial complex tonight.

And then, when fun with excellent relatives and cool machinery seemed like it couldn't get any better...we went to the beach. My family had put together a whole picnic lunch and was all prepared to grill at the beach. They'd made five pounds of potato salad. We found a picnic table next to the sandy river-side beach. It was perfect.

The water was even warmish. We saw a giant horseshoe crab toodling along on the sand at the edge of the water. Everyone plunged into the water, none more happily than Jack. He bobbed up and down, he sunk under the water, he exploded back up. He floated this way and that. He went out deeper that I would have thought he'd be willing to.

And the jellyfish infestation the signs were warning us about? Pffft. How many jellyfish could there be? Well, Sam will tell you that there was at least one. Poor guy. He was really upset. And I don't think he's ever going to voluntarily go to a beach again. I've never been stung by a jellyfish, but my Gulf Coast-dwelling relatives tell me that it really hurts. And, no, we didn't pee on him. Although it might have been very satisfying. Once Alex took him up the beach and showered him off he calmed down, and by the time B's 7-year-old son joined him, Sam was totally okay.

Dragging Jack and Quinn out of the water was difficult though. They didn't really understand the threat of the jellyfish. They mostly understood water = fun and why is my dumbass mom refusing to let me go past ankle-deep water now?

After the beach, we got back in our car to head home. I was sad to leave; this was a fun group to be around. And I wanted to play with my stepsister, S's, new(ish) baby more. Alex bid B's oldest daughter goodbye with a highly personal, "Goodbye, Girl!" and we were on our way.

Granted, B did insult me by telling me that I have to be 10% smarter that my tool when I was fumbling with a juice pouch straw. (Yep, he was saying that I'm dumber than a straw.) And, according to the signage, we did have to "Beware of Jet Blast" and "Yield to Taxiing and Landing Aircraft." And Sam did keep calling B's son "Jason." Which is not his name.

But I really enjoyed getting to hang out with B and S and their cool families. These are all wonderful, fun people. I carried a happiness away with me when we left, a happiness that comes from being with some very cool people. I really hope to be able to see both of them and their families waaaaay before another 12 years pass.

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