It’s late, but I want to write this down before I forget the feeling that I had last night as I kicked my sandals off and felt the soft east coast sand beneath my feet. The air was cool and there was a breeze. A break from the discomfort of the east coast humidity we had experienced over the past couple of days and nights. You would think that rain would cool everything down at least a little bit, right? Not a chance. Anyway, back to the beach.
Our day had been long and tiring. When we arrived at Myrtle Beach it was night. The streets were congested with neon lights and college kids. They were all scrambling and stumbling across the street, weaving in and out of traffic, hooting and hollering for the sake of hooting and hollering. You know the crowd. Some dude salutes our bus with a thumbs up. It’s summer vacation and Myrtle Beach is the place everybody runs to as soon as the bell rings.
Once we finally made it through the traffic we pulled into a small parking lot with beach access. Eliot had been lulled to sleep by the sounds of car horns, shouting drunks, and car stereos blasting bad rap. Who knew?
“Want to take turns going out to the water?” Erik asked.
“I’ll be quick,” he said.
Erik ran off into the distance. Out to dip his toe into the half way point of our road trip. As I waited for my turn I reached back into my mind remembering moments that we had experienced so far. I thought of the beauty of the grand canyon and all the fun we had sitting and talking with family I haven’t seen in years. Rekindled friendships. Eliot meeting people who have loved him from states away. And then I thought about saying goodbye to Memaw in St. Louis, knowing that was most likely the last time I’ll see her. It was the last time I’ll get to just sit with her like I used to. My heart hurts so badly from that goodbye and all the goodbyes we’ve had so far on this trip. I wasn’t prepared for this. But then I realize that it hurts because my love for them is real. And all at once, I am swept up by the awareness of how incredibly blessed I am to be on this journey…to actually have family and friends to say goodbye to.
“Be thankful for this time. Be thankful for this moment with this person. Be present,” I thought.
Erik came walking back and before I realized what I was doing I jumped out onto the sand, kicked off my sandals and started running. I just felt so full of joy that I had to run. I was so thankful for everything we had been given on this trip so far. We had seen so much and been given so much in so little time.
I reached the water, letting the waves wash over my feet. I wiggled my toes. The Atlantic feels warmer than the Pacific.
We made it.