For the past 10 years we've been spending a week in Ocean City, down on the Jersey shore. It's a slice of retro - Hoy's 5&10 across the street, Dot's Pastry with monkey bread and cheese pie and pretzel donuts a block in the other direction, family owned stores
and restaurants, after dinner ice cream walks.
Every summer is different. As the kids get older interests change but the staples never do: beach and boardwalk. This was the summer of boogie boarding, of waiting for that perfect wave, of riding from far out until sand and shells scratched my belly as I steered through observers more towards shore. Of the joy in watching as Iz or Jack hit that right moment and sped across the ocean. Of spending hours in the morning or waiting for later in the day. And the luxury of walking in the sand with the rising sum reflected on the water or a glowing sunset turning the sky vibrant shades of purple and orange behind the illuminated ferris wheel.
This was the summer of go karts. Of Iz's face gleeful as she careened around curves. Of yoyos, which Jack discovered at Air Circus that led to hours and days of practicing, with countless bandaids applied. Of Mack & Manco's pizza, Jilly's french fries, cotton candy, fudge and salt water taffy and a Kohr's Brothers custard cone here and there - I suspended my sugar free status twice for a chocolate peanut twist dipped in more chocolate. This summer was mini golf and motocross at the arcade, skee ball and guitar hero. One carousel turn and a go at bumper cars was it for rides.
This was also the summer of biking. I rode almost every day, the air cool with a crisp edge, other days so humid I was dripping with sweat before I got to the end of the block, still others so windy my legs burned trying to get home. I rode along ocean front houses gleaming white in the sun, glimpses of sand and dunes as I passed every corner. Or I rode along the boardwalk, wheels clicking against the wooden slats, the ocean steps away. I rode over bridges and causeways, over endless marshes glistening in the sun. I rode before an impending hurricane, the sky dull and dark grey, scattered raindrops falling most of the trip.
It was the summer of perfect corn, of tomatoes so juicy they must have just been picked, of delicious salads. Of Uncle Bill's Pancake House and Randazzo's and more pizza than one would think possible.
This was the first summer we spent 2 weeks here. Every year, as we left, we'd wish we had more time.
This year we had time.
It was the summer of beading and knitting. Reading. Napping. Wandering around town. Not minding rainy days because we knew we didn't have to rush home soon. Of playing with the puppy, who love love loved digging in the sand. Of all of us lounging on my bed, scratching Gracie's belly in lovefest moments.
It was the summer of sitting.
Of quietly reveling in being with my family.
It was the summer of comfort. Of gratitude.
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