By: Shannon Ralph
Summer has officially arrived in my household. The kids are out of school and have already made their first trip to our local pool. Sophie has a sunburned scalp and Lucas is pink from head to toe despite the use of heavy duty sunscreen. There is no doubt at all that he is a Pierce. He and his mom both turn a most pleasant shade of carnation pink any time they get in the sun. Then it quickly fades back to pasty white. The closest they ever get to tanning is when freckles merge together to form larger freckles. Sophie and Nicky, on the other hand, have my low-brow redneck blood coursing through their veins. They will tan this summer. It will likely be an uber-sexy farmer’s tan, but they will tan.
I am kind of bummed that I am working this year. Let’s face it. No one really wants to work during the summer, right? I have been spoiled every single summer since my twins were born to only have to work part-time during this most laid-back of seasons. Getting off work at lunchtime left the possibilities for summer fun wide open. Last summer, we headed to the pool or the lake almost every afternoon when I got off work. This summer, my kiddos will be worshiping the sun gods without me. I will be sitting in a cubicle. Not a window in sight as my body desperately craves vitamin D. Maintaining my specter-like winter whiteness. Bedecked in polyester and linen instead of capris and flip-flops. Eating bland rice cups heated in the lunchroom microwave instead of enjoying ice cream with my toes wriggling in the sand. It really is quite unjust that anyone should be required to work in an office during this glorious season.
Luckily, I will be getting a bit of a reprieve in about a week. Next Saturday, we will be leaving for an 18-day vacation. We will be visiting Kentucky and the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and the gorgeous beaches of North Carolina. I can’t even put into coherent words how very excited I am for this vacation. How desperately it is needed and wanted. It will be nice to visit my family in Kentucky. And I’ve never been to Gatlinburg and I hear the mountains are gorgeous. We will certainly have fun in both those locales. However, my mind is 100% focused—possibly obsessed?—with the beach house that is awaiting us in North Carolina. It’s been way too long since I have been to the ocean. I cannot wait to feel my toes in the sand. To watch the kids try to outrun the waves. To smell the sea. To sit on the balcony and listen to the sounds of the surf every evening as I read cheesy novels and People magazine (only the captions under the pictures though…I don’t care for the articles). The owner of the condo we are staying in says that she often sees dolphins frolicking in the early morning from her balcony. The condo sits right on the beach. You walk out the door and are standing in sand. I am afraid that I may never come back. Seriously. If I seem to disappear off the face of the earth later this month, do not be alarmed. I have simply become a beach bum. A ne’er-do-well with leathered skin from the sun and surf, living off the crabs I catch on the beach. A vagabond dressed in nothing more formal than blue-jean cut-offs and flip-flops. A derelict who reads trashy novels and hums Jimmy Buffet songs all day. It sounds like a life I could get used to. Who needs the internet and other modern conveniences like cell phones and indoor plumbing when there is an entire glorious world to be relished at the beach?