Summer Winds at the Sub

 My childhood beach house called "The Submarine in the Cornfield"

My childhood beach house called "The Submarine in the Cornfield"

My eyes and ears awaken to the symphony of the bamboo slat shades clicking and clacking repetitively with the easy, late afternoon cross breeze. 

 

The clerestory windows above me beckon the draft as it travels over my head and out the homemade 1970’s Marimekko curtains swaying on the rod in unison with the blinds.

 

The ocean waves breaking beyond are calm and the sun is deep in the sky casting a warm pink glow, signifying the day is winding down and it’s almost cocktail hour at the Submarine in the Cornfield (our summer home on the North Carolina coast). I am a curious 4 year old interested to see what I missed while asleep.

 

I gather my “Blanky” and ease out of the soft sheets onto the orange shag carpet. There is a sense of irritability upon waking, which is quickly soothed as I head to the front deck and run right to my Dad’s shirtless tummy (also orange shag).  He scoops me up into the hammock for a cuddle. We swing there and for a moment I am content. He had this way of always making me feel safe.  

 

 Post-nap in the hammock with my dad

Post-nap in the hammock with my dad

Lately, these memories have been flooding my brain and aching my heart: cuddles, Christmases, sailing on the boat, concerts, travel, sending me to camp and college__the many hellos and goodbyes…good morning and wake up snuggles,  goodnight kisses.

 

Not Fade Away

 

My dad has gotten older since those days at the “Sub” and on the outside, he may appear to be fading. But he’s not.

 

I know this because I see love and life in his steadfast eyes that will never fade.

 

One afternoon as I was saying goodbye to Dad at the nursing home, I got teary-eyed.

 

His eyes welled up too and from a wheelchair, this larger-than-life man, who looks the same to me as he did when I was 4, said, “It’s okay.”

 

And there it was…that same secure feeling I’ve known forever.  It was if he has this all-knowing that everything was going to be fine. HE was consoling ME as a father does.

 

A transcendent feeling of peace swept over me and I was reminded again of our synchronicity.

 

In that essence, I feel protected__no matter what.

 

Make the Most of It

 Window treatments and bedspread made by Mom

Window treatments and bedspread made by Mom

 

Author Gretchen Rubin muses on the notion that you will say goodbye many times to your child in life (link here to the 2 minute podcast). 

 

There will be many hellos as well. I am trying not to be sad about the goodbyes and instead to concentrate on the moments between.

 

While I know that everyone goes through watching their parents age, I cannot help but ask, “how did WE get here?”  Why was I not prepared?  Could I have taken a class on aging? Probably not…because at 20 years old, you have no need for the class. Boys and parties were much more appealing.  One day you wake up and you are 80…just like the movies say!

 

What we CAN do is make the most of our days. Be a good steward of your time and positivity, no matter what comes your way.

 

From Maria Shriver:

“A lot of insight came to me in midlife, when things start to happen sometimes in rapid succession…Your mom gets sick, your kids have issues, you lose your job, you lose your marriage, your mom dies, your dad dies. Everybody is going to have twists and turns in life, no matter how good you are or who you are. How you navigate them makes a difference.”

 

Can I get an AMEN?

 

The focus needs to be on a positive approach moving forward.  Make the most of the time we have.

 

Nevertheless, things ARE changing. And “it’s okay.”

 

Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes (thank you, Billy Joel). Be sure what happens in between them is as magical as a soulful, summer wind at the Submarine in the Cornfield.

 

And Dad’s spirit is there.

 Peter Max-inspired rendition of the Submarine 

Peter Max-inspired rendition of the Submarine 

 

For more beach house memories, check out Senses of Summer