I sat down in my beach chair, took off my cover-up, dug my toes in the sand and texted Chris.
"I am at the beach. Alone."
He immediately called.
"Why are you calling me when I just told you I was alone at the beach?" I answered without saying hello.
"Then why did you tell me you were alone?" he answered.
Awww, how sweet. He thinks I'm sad that I'm alone.
"No, Chris. It's glorious!"
"That hurts me so," he said. Chris was stuck back in Huntsvegas with work and couldn't make the trip with me and the girls to visit my parents.
"No, it has nothing to do with you," I explained. "I'm all by myself. I don't have to build any sand castles or jump any waves. I am just going to sit here, alone, and read my book."
We talked for little while longer and he brought me up to speed on what was going on at home. Then he said, "I'll let you get back to being alone" and I graciously thanked him.
Where were the girls? My parents were going into Pensacola to pick my niece and nephew up from school. Coach Nick Saban was in town to speak that evening and since my sister is the past President of the Pensacola Alabama Alumni Chapter she was working the event. The night before my mom said,
"Why don't your dad and I take the girls with us and you can stay here by yourself and lay out."
"Oh, mother, that sounds glorious," I answered. (I realize I used the word "glorious" twice to describe this experience, but it was the best I could come up with to express my happiness :)
I don't know the last time I was alone on the beach. I'm pretty sure it was "pre-Ann Catherine." You parents know that a trip to the beach takes on a whole new meaning once you have kids.
And it's not a relaxing one.
I have always had an affinity for the beach. My first job out of college was as a reporter at a television station in Panama City, Florida. My friends and I loved going to the beach the months of February-April and September-October. Before the tourists came and after they were gone. When it was just us, the locals. And the beach was quiet.
I would sit and hear the rolling waves and forget that, based on my salary, I was thisclose to being able to qualify for welfare. I would forget how hard it was carrying that giant camera on my shoulder each day, in high heels of course.
I was living at the beach. And I loved it.
When I left PC to come to Huntsville, I wasn't sad over leaving my job.
But I was sad about leaving the beach.
After I hung up with Chris, I read a book. Then I closed the book, closed my eyes, and just relaxed.
And I thought, if God allows me to live that long, this is where I want to be one day. Once my kids are grown with families of their own, I want to be sitting on a beach with Chris.
We'll talk about our girls and how proud we are of them. We'll talk about Melissa, and wonder what she would have been like. We'll talk about our grandkids, and how much fun it is to be grandparents!
We'll talk about how it was worth all of those years of hard work. I'll remind Chris that we would have more money if I had kept working as a news anchor, but that I wouldn't trade those years at home with my girls for anything.
We'll talk about how during a lightning storm on Labor Day of 1999, he got down on one knee and proposed to me on the balcony of my parents condo at the beach. And who would have believed that all those years later, our lives would come full circle and we would be here.
At the beach.
I really hope that happens.
(The beach as seen from the serenity of my beach chair and texted to Chris with the message "Wish you were here." See? I did miss him!)