One of the cool things about having a beach house in the family is the history that goes along with it. I have an older brother and sister, Eric and Christy. (Hi Sissy! *waves*) We are very close in age, which translates into a lot of chaos. Some of that chaos was great, some not so much, but looking back, it's all pretty funny.
When I went out to the shed to get a bucket and shovel for Michael, I was reminded of the time Eric and Christy were chasing each other around and one of them tried to hide in the shed. They pulled and pushed on the aluminum door too much and damaged it. To this day, it's hard to close the door.
When we sat down to eat lunch, I was reminded of the lunches my grandmother would make for us. The noon siren would go off and we would head in for soup and sandwiches. One time my grandmother confessed to making the Manhattan Clam Chowder with chicken broth instead of water. Christy was NOT happy about this and complained about the disgusting chicken chowder. She refused to eat her bowl of soup. I echoed her complaints...while eating her bowl of soup. Score!
As we relaxed in the living room, I couldn't help but think back to the year Christy broke her arm on the giant slide at the amusement park. Eric was so upset. He thought that it was going to ruin our entire vacation. Christy - you know, the one with the broken arm- took it all in stride. It didn't keep her from doing anything. I, on the other hand thought I had a new source of older sister torment. I don't know what she said to upset me, but I turned on her and called her a "four eyed, one armed orangutan". It was in the living room that I learned that not only do fiberglass casts bruise, they also scratch. Ouch.
I think my favorite memory of the three of us down the shore is the summer of the jelly fish invasion. We had this great idea. We caught a few buckets full of jelly fish, dug holes in the sand, filled the holes with jelly fish, and finally covered them with sand. Then we sat down to watch as poor, unsuspecting beach walkers stepped into our jelly fish traps. It was a brilliant idea and our execution was flawless. Well, except for the part where we sat five feet away from the holes and giggled as soon as someone approached. So much for that idea.
Last Saturday at the bay, I watched as Michael played in the sand and ran along the water's edge and I felt a pang of regret. We are 99.9% sure that he will be our only child. I realized as I watched him that he'll never have a sibling to conspire with. He won't know what it's like to have a brother throw sand at him or a sister to go crabbing with. He'll never get to climb on the jetty and share tidal pool finds with another child in the family. I'm not saying that having an older brother and sister was always wonderful, but it was never lonely.
For a moment, I really reconsidered having a second child, but than a little girl came up and asked Michael if he wanted to play with her. Maybe I don't have as much to worry about as I thought. Michael's childhood will certainly be different than mine, but that doesn't mean that he won't have meaningful relationships. They will just be different relationships.