Our family is still smiling from a 7 day stay in Myrtle Beach, made possible by the Hampton family who graciously allowed us to stay in their ocean front condo. Unfortunately though, they could not join us this summer for a shared vacation and we missed them, no doubt. Instead, my parents and sister made the venture with us. The girls were excited.
Our week was peaceful. We stayed on the beach "all day" as Esme would tell you. Our only goals were to soak up every last ray of sunshine that we could possibly stand and collectively find 100 shark teeth by weeks end. We were successful on both accounts. Our tooth search quickly grew into an obsession and now we have 200 shark teeth that we have no idea what to do with. And Esme, that girl, found one of the tiniest teeth of all 200. All by herself. She's amazing.
Oia was one with the ocean the entire week. The wide open space of the beach provided our girl the freedom to run, roam, and do whatever her heart desired along the shore. The beach suits her busy soul well. She was constantly moving, digging, filling/carrying/dumping buckets, stomping and splashing, or making friends. She was in her own world and blissful to be there. Watching her just be, as she pleased to be, was delightful to witness. Many beach-goers, young and old, stopped to play with her and/or comment on how joyful she was to watch. Precious was a word we heard a lot. And because of her, we met a lot of new and friendly faces.
Esme, on the other hand, took to the ocean with a bit more caution. She's not particularly a fan of sand and she was ready to call it a day if she fell victim to an unexpected splash or wave. Each day however, she grew more brave and tolerant and was willing to stay on the beach for longer periods of time. Our beautiful beach baby collected a lot of awwww's herself.
Each day of vacation came with its own highlights - some being when two varieties of starfish washed to shore (one of which I found and returned), hermit crabs that found us before we found them, a tiny shark that was spotted among us, unbroken shells that were plentiful, and the low tide each afternoon that offered up the perfect sand bar.
We also did the touristy thing and visited the local aquarium. I knew Esme would love seeing the aquatic life but from past experiences with Oia, I wasn't so sure how she would do. I believe her poor vision and ADHD combined with the thick, often blurred, glass-walled tanks makes it hard for her to truly see and appreciate the exhibits. To her eye, the lights and reflections within dim spaces like these seem to be more of a distraction and a processing overload than anything else. Beautiful to our eyes, visual clutter to hers. Oia was most engaged (and fearless) when allowed to reach in and touch the sharks and horseshoe crabs from an open tank. She's just a hands-on girl. Can't say I blame her.
And a highlight for Rob and I was an evening out (sans kiddos) to Murrell's Inlet. We dined on sushi and local seafood while sipping adult beverages and conversing little. We act like fish out of water, or at least it feels that way, when the girls aren't with us but the break, if only just for dinner, is nice. We returned to the Inlet later in the week with the rest of the family because a sign this fabulous just couldn't go to waste. There was no leaving SC without a picture of my sister girls under it. Crazy and all, I just love 'em.
And of course, one with my sister too... because she really is the crazy one.
Crazy sister of mine twisted my arm a bit and convinced me to parasail with her. My father joined us. Let's say that it was eventful in all the wrong ways, for me at least. Tiny boats and high swells don't play nice with me. Apparently, I'm a land lover in my old age. I toughed it out and sailed anyways although it wasn't pretty... because what other choice did I have? By the time I reached that god-awful point of seasickness, land was just a speck on the horizon. Lucky me. But consider memories made, seasick and all. I already put a big ol' fat check in the box next to PARASAIL though because I won't ever be doing that again. Nope, no siree.
Overall, our week together was lovely and little girl smiles were priceless. We all got a much needed break from reality and there's no better place to do that than where salt water meets land. Sand and sun are just good for the soul. Family time is an added bonus. And we are thankful for the week that was full of all three.