Chronicles of Sadie

Sadie and the Sands of Togetherness

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About three weeks before we celebrated Sadie’s first birthday, we embarked upon another “first” of epic proportions: her first vacation to the beach. Saddling up our SUV with every possession that we owned along with some that I had no recollection of purchasing, we hit the road a’runnin’.

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We left around bedtime so Munchkin could sleep and then we stopped at a hotel for the night. Hotels and babies can be quite the explosive combination. A Pack-n-Play portable bed is necessary and unlike at home, there are no closed doors to separate Mommy and Daddy’s space from baby’s space. That means you have to unpack, clean up for bed, and move around as quietly as possible when baby is down. By the next morning’s departure, Sadie had grown weary of the confined space and created quite the stressful situation of reloading the “wheeled Titanic” for the next departure. Some much-needed coffee and a few apologies between Laura and I found the whole family unit still intact and relatively happy.

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After a hilarious stop at an old seafood buffet curiously devoid of any seafood, a host of creatively-maneuvered (or manured, as it were) diaper changes in the backseat of the vehicle, and a supply-stop at the busiest Wal-Mart I had ever laid eyes on, we finally arrived at the beach house to join my family for a week of beautiful weather and relaxation. It was quite the experience—which the beach always is, but so much more so simply because every detail was filtered through the lens of Sadie. This was another series of firsts we would never forget, even though she already has.

Her first real swimming experience was something else. After slathering the poor child from head to toe in SPF 500, we then put her in a swimmy diaper, a bathing suit, a float with a shaded branch-shaped cover, arm floaties, and a special hat from NASA that blocked every form of light including gamma rays. The little squirt was as protected as a Civil War ironclad and as unsinkable as a Coast Guard buoy! She enjoyed the whole swimming thing, but only in “spurts”… is this thing on?

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At that point, she still wasn’t walking. Therefore, her little hands and knees touched every square nanometer of the entire beach house where we were staying. A qualified team of expert adults was on “Sadie-Watch” round the clock, especially around the pool area. She was incorrigible and entitled, seemingly infected with some toddler version of Manifest Destiny—and the frontier of Coastal Alabama was hers to possess in its entirety.

Now what happened next boggled our minds, though these days there seems to be less to boggle. Up to that point, Sadie loved to be outside, but she wasn’t a big fan of grass. I know it sounds strange, but she would much rather crawl around in the driveway than play in the grass. She would stick out an offended finger and lightly graze the end of a blade of grass, and then retract her arm as if she had just touched putrid garbage or something—of course, she had no problem whatsoever with actual garbage. Therefore, we concluded that she would not be much of a fan of sand.

Boy, were we wrong!

Against our somewhat natural affinity for cleanliness, we decided to let Sadie sit in the sand just to see her reaction. Unlike the grass, she took to the sand like a fish to water, or like a crab to sand, or whatever. Sitting quickly morphed into gleeful crawling as if she had been dropped into a treasure chest full of toys. She sifted the sand between her little fingers and toes, laughing and enjoying every minute of it.

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But it didn’t stop there! Next, Sadie decided that the gritty substance we originally thought she would hate was not only edible, but eclipsed in deliciousness only by dog food. I know it makes us bad parents, but we decided to let her have her fun for a few minutes. We didn’t let her ingest much of it, but we did let her taste it—and apparently, she loved it! We were befuddled and more than slightly amused.

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Eventually, the sand ran out of the Sadie hourglass and we had the auspicious task of cleaning up a very, very dirty little munchkin—but she had had so much fun, we really didn’t mind.

There were a host of other experiences that dotted the landscape of our trip. Sadie’s first boat ride. Her first glimpses of the ocean, which left her seemingly unimpressed. Now that sand on the shore of that huge ocean, that was a different story.

Not to make an observation that is too overly obvious, but my first Sadie-beach trip changed my perception of the beach. I have been to beaches more times than I can count, but Sadie brought “fresh-eyes” to familiar sights. Through her little eyes, ears, and nose—I saw, heard, and smelled the salty spray of the coast for the first time—again.

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Togetherness brings new perspective. I suppose that God is the ultimate architect of this concept, finding one thing in the perfection of Eden he thought was “not good.” “It is not good for the man to be alone… ” (Genesis 2:18 NLT). Now, “man” here can apply to each of us independent of our gender. At the end of God’s week-long creative extravaganza, he still felt that something was missing: togetherness.

Our little sand excursion was a great example that God does not intend for us to face life’s challenges or to enjoy life’s experiences in isolation. The more hands that touch the sand… the more mouths that taste the salt…  the more eyes that behold the wonder… the more joy is multiplied to all. That God is one great mathematician!

We’re still counting the blessings Sadie has brought to our lives. They are somewhere in that innumerable category like God’s thoughts about us. They are like grains of sand.

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