Tuesday, August 18, 2009

grace in small things, 17/365.

I've neglected GiST for far too long, so I'm bringing it back with a twist (at least for this post). I usually make a little list, but this time I feel a full entry coming on.

This past weekend, I ventured out for the first time in a while. I was due to visit The Boy, and since his house is halfway between my house and my aunt's shorehouse, I figured the two of us would drive down and visit. Aside from the ridiculous amount of traffic, I'm glad we made the decision, especially considering there was a farewell party for my cousin and another neighbor, who are both going off to college soon.

The ride to The Boy's house and the subsequent drive to the shorehouse were nearly unbearable. While the combined time for both trips should've been just about two hours, instead it was nearly three and a half. Of course, it's mostly my fault for planning to make these trips on a Saturday. In the middle of the day. On the first sunny and warm weekend of the summer. In New Jersey.

If you're from North Jersey or travel the GSP to get to the shore, you can probably guess what bridge this is.

I was instantly at peace with my decision when I stepped in the house. As usual, I was offered a lovely alcoholic drink (which I passed on, since my tummy had been icky all day) and a comfy seat amongst family and friends. We talked, laughed, and traded playful banter about things like stupidly using your finger to test the heat of baked penne vodka, my aunt's hot flashes, and sneaking bread before the food was put out.

My cousin, at the ready to light the sternos at a moment's notice.

As we waited for dinner to be served, the guests continued to show up, sharing stories, hugs, and smiles. I love the people who live on the block by the shore house. They're so bubbly and welcoming, and remember me even if I only visit once or twice every summer. At one point, the random mix of old and new songs being generated by the random "party mix" TV music channel came to a meeting point when Only the Good Die Young started playing. My 18-year-old cousin, whom the party was for, came running inside with her friend and started belting out lyrics, along with me, our cousin's 27-year-old girlfriend, and a few of the parents. It was one of those moments that doesn't make for a great story, but at the time it just feels so good for your soul.


The best part was after we'd all eaten, when most of the party guests had drinks in their bellies and the sun had just finished setting, and the dancing commenced. My aunt recently had an addition put on the house - a gorgeous back patio with screen windows to keep the cool breeze coming in but the nasty greenheads and mosquitoes out. With the outdoor speakers blasting Just Dance, the twist, and everything in between, we all hit the makeshift dance floor. The older guests danced in a tipsy stupor, while the teenagers let loose as best friends enjoying themselves together one last time before my cousin left for college. We did the Hokey Pokey and the limbo, laughing and dancing and sweating.

My youngest cousin, giving the girls a run for their money.

She has no shame, although she did try to tuck her dress under before she went for it.

Those are the moments I live for. While we were spinning in circles during the bridge in the chicken dance, belting the lyrics to a favorite song, and laughing at made-up dance moves, everything else fell away into the background. All my worries, concerns, doubts, shortcomings, and feelings of sickness were gone, and I was happy.

I was letting go and laughing loudly, something I need to find a way to do way, way more often.


~ashley~ said...

the shore ALWAYS makes me happy!!! it sound like you had an awesome time down there!!! yay!!!

Katie said...

Before agreeing to go anywhere, I always think about what highway I have to take, and if its a shore-day. I can't tell you hoe many times I end up sitting in hours of traffic just to go 10 miles or so.

Glad you had such a good time! It definitely looks like a lot of fun was had!