Returning home: Our trip to Bald Head Island

I have written about Bald Head Island before, here , here, and here. I have been going to the unspoiled, car-free island since bringing over a generator with my family when I was a baby, and now I have the privilege of taking my own children to an island so precious to our family.

This year was different. My dad, usually sitting at the head of the table and celebrating his birthday with a carrot cake and a week on the deck in a rocker, was not with us.

We all went out one morning and laid him to rest in the waters he loved and always wanted to return to one day.

Our trip was different for sure. The full day drive with two maniacs in the back seat makes for a total team effort. My mom had to climb back there often, pulling glitter putty out of hair, fixing a DVD, replacing a dropped binky, or just consoling.

Kids are older, free moments shorter. Trading kids, tag-teaming, exchanging glances that say "It's OK--I'm not mad" or "We've got this...we are doing this". Cousins entertaining cousins.

Quick runs out to the sand to check if the nearby loggerhead nest has hatched...taking a moment to look up to the stars and realize just how many there are. How we can't see them any clearer anywhere else. Buying something special from our favorite stores and wearing them immediately. Visiting our 187 year old friend.

Thinking about our dads...caring for them, remembering them, holding fiercely to the memories of fishing and tennis and teaching us to drive on the golf carts.

Packing four pairs of shoes but only wearing the good old flip flops and never using the flat iron. Wearing bathing suits or just a diaper all day every day.

Dinners created with love, even if it is just spaghetti or is together and it is good. Dinners out while the grandparents watch the kids and we get time to enjoy a drink or tell stories without being interrupted 14 times.

Anticipating that children won't ever sleep in a shared room or nervously waiting for them to cry it out...and then not even having to worry about it because the time in the sand and water has cast a sleepy spell on them.

Our days at BHI used to be filled with driving the cart all day in search of adventure. Now I just stare at the top of my youngest's blond curls and see him enjoying the same ride I used to...I hold my girl tightly while she asks about my favorite tunnel of trees, slowly accepting that it isn't scary but more like the jungles in her Peter Pan and Tinkerbell movies.

Each year gets a little harder to leave. We usually leave in a rush, and I think we have learned to do that to avoid tearful and long goodbyes. Our family will scatter along the East coast, and we will be held together by texts and calls between Staten Island, Columbus and Charlotte. All anticipating our next week together...


Nana said...

I have no words. You captured every emotion, every thought I had. It was a beautiful week for us all to be together and celebrate Dad. Thank you for making the trip possible. I love you.

Schneider 4.0 said...

great pics!

Kristy Pellegrino said...

Couldn't agree more. Bald Head will always be one of the most special places to me but I think it's because we get to share it together as a family that makes it so magical!! Love you and miss you all.

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