We headed out over the 4th of July to Litchfield, NC for a beach vacation. I knew this year would be different; Elena hasn't been moving all that well, and neither have I. The week before the beach I had another knee surgery (closed manipulation; they bent my knee all the way under anesthesia), which helped immensely, but riding waves was a non-starter. Sand was harder for me than for Elena, and I managed to do some shin-deep walking in the waves to get knee exercise. In general, Elena and I had the same territory, but she was faster than me.
Everyone had a great time. Great company, wonderful location, gorgeous weather.
There were some dangers, though. There had been many shark sightings (more than previous years), and despite the fact that sharks are always around, we didn't spend much time in (deep) water. I also blame my knee, as I wasn't able to venture into the waves to supervise the kids. Still, Elena and Vivian spent a lot of time playing in the shallows. I could wade with them or watch from up higher on the beach. While I was in the shade, I saw Elena get up and walk to our beach chairs-with a pretty mean face.
|Determined face and terrible gait|
She doesn't typically move like that. I knew something was wrong. She sat in the chair, and started to cry for me--obviously in distress. Turns out she was stung by a good-sized sea nettle (I got a picture of it in case we needed an ID) while she was on her knees in the water.
|The girl who saved herself|
This is a pretty big deal--in years past, E would have sat there, with the jellyfish still stinging her, until I arrived. In spite of her crouch and difficulty moving, she removed herself from danger. That is HUGE! I was sorry she was stung, but so so proud of her for taking care of herself. We saw to her sting, and within an hour or two she was back playing--albeit with a pretty red and tender leg.
We brought E's tri-foot "rugged" crutches again this year. These are our "spare pair", ones we don't bring indoors. They still had sand from last year, and some rust in places. I'm happy to have these (they were donated to us) so we don't ruin E's main pair of crutches. In general, E used these to navigate to and from the beach house, and if she was going to walk to a nearby shell patch. Otherwise, she walked without them (not well) or was on her knees in the surf.
The wildlife was better than ever--we saw (and held!) sharks, fish, sea urchins, starfish, and snails. We saw dolphins, a stingray, crabs, pelicans and jellyfish. We enjoyed fireworks at night on the beach. We dug holes, rolled in the waves, and enjoyed games and relaxation in the beach house.
|Walking in the surf|
|Viv in her "tiny pool" before high tide|
|Viv caught her own waves!|
The beach time was very different for me this year. I was unable to carry much of anything, since simply walking in the sand was extremely difficult for me. I continue to be extremely thankful for the help and support of our family, making this trip possible and enjoyable for everyone. I was really proud of Elena for getting herself to and from the beach house!
Thanks to a great crowd this year at the beach--we loved the location, the family meals, watching the USWNT win the World Cup, playing games, and our annual beach puzzle. We loved watching baby G enjoy the beach for the first time! And more than anything, thanks for the wonderful company!