There is this scene from the movie Big Fish where the main character sees the woman he wants to marry and time stops. A bucket of popcorn was tossed in the air but the pieces hang in place and the chaos of the big top comes to a screeching halt when he sets eyes on the woman of his dreams. In that moment, time is perfection. It is absolute. There is no wondering. He knows. There is no room for doubt or question.
To me, it’s probably one of the most romantic cinematic scenes of all time.
I wish that moments of my life could be like that, just suspended frames of joy and love there for me to peruse and take my time savoring to remember forever exactly how they are, etched like a painting.
This past weekend, Scott and I loaded up the minivan with our kids, enough squeezy applesauce and juice boxes to feed a small village and drove to see my grandparents in Spring Lake, just outside of Grand Haven for Coast Guard Festival.
It’s a great weekend getaway because it’s only a two-and-a-half hour drive to the other side of the mitten from where we live. Of course you have to factor in a few potty and snack breaks, but in about three hours we arrived and the kids tumbled into my grandparents’ kitchen one by one.
Noah brought his endearing, inquisitive nature with questions that require actual research. Luke came equipped with his ten-minute tangents which lead to nothing of great importance, yet you hang on his every word and stretched syllables in his sing-song voice waiting for a non-existent conclusion. And baby Gracie bounced around on her chubby legs, messy pig-tails bobbing, while she narrowly missed table corners and fell about every ten steps or so, using her forehead as a buffer.
Seeing the happiness on my Grandma’s face listening to Luke during one of his epic tales about a dog he saw in a truck on the way over, or the way my Grandpa’s face lit up when Grace reached for him to hold her rather than her own mommy made my heart warm but the moments are frozen in my mind forever.
We took the kids to the beach and incredibly the icy cold water didn’t seem to phase them. They ran into it fearlessly then rolled themselves in the sand better resembling cinnamon sugar donuts than children. Then they did it all over again. Noah buried his legs in the sand and told me to take a picture. Gracie was thrilled to have found the biggest sandbox she’d ever seen. Luke got mad that he couldn’t keep the water from going into the hole he was digging. Click. A few more shots for the mental scrapbook.
Coast Guard Festival: The bright colors of the carnival rides all over downtown, the vintage cars, fire engines and a big float of a cow crawling along the road while kids waved their arms for candy. Noah waved his little white flag. Luke and Scott snuggled on a blanket in the grass. Grace’s little button nose and fringe-like eyelashes pressed onto her round cheeks as she snored softly in spite of blaring bag-pipes and noisy sirens. Eating soft, warm pretzels and French fries on the boardwalk listening to Noah and Luke tell their Daddy which boats they liked best. All filed away in the “Happy Place” drawer.
It was such a great visit to one of my favorite places on earth. It never disappoints. We got to see my Aunt Debbie and Uncle Dan and Dan took the boys and Scott out on his boat for a bit (Dan, please let us know if Scott’s Ray-bans turn up, but thanks for diving in to attempt salvaging them).
So many mini-adventures crammed into two and a half days. The boy slept well, exhausted from the excitement and also because they got to share a bed. Listening to them say good night to each other was probably one of the cutest things anyone on this planet has ever heard. “Luke, are you so excited you get to share a bed with me?”
“Yeah! Good night, brudder. I had so much fun today. I like this vacation.”
I wish I could literally make a panoramic 3-D, life-size, interactive mural to relive this past weekend whenever I am having a bad day, just like that beautiful moment in Big Fish.
Thank you, Grandma Ellie and Grandpa Dan for such a wonderful visit, for being such accommodating hosts and for making those memories possible just by being alive and so full of love and warmth.