We just got back from our family vacation at Pacific Beach on the Washington Coast. The weather was perfect, and the beach is one of those that goes for miles and miles and is all sand–a thrill for those of us who often only have access to rocky beaches.

There’s nothing to the town of Pacific Beach except a couple small grocery stores and a few places that sell souvenirs. You don’t go there for that. You go for the ocean. The glorious, wide-open ocean that brings a stillness to my heart and mind even as it’s rhythmic surf and buffeting winds produce a barrier of noise that becomes a cushion between me and the world. It’s easy to think there, because the rest of life is somewhat blocked beyond the immediate sensory experience.

Gaby LOVED it! She raced at full speed, just for the thrill of it. Up and down, and around. Always circling back to her peeps, and never wandering far. Then chasing a flock of seagulls or sand pipers, confident that she would catch them. Or smelling something wonderful and digging with all her might to get to it. It was puppy heaven!

Taylor and Cassidy went full tilt into the waves. Jumping. Laughing. Body surfing. And the water was freezing! But they went every day.

Good thing we took a photo the first day because Zack would have nothing to do with the beach after that!

Jay and I flew a kite, ran with Gabs, walked into the water to our ankles, and tried to coax Zack to come with us.

Zack came the first day, but would barely step outside the cabin after that. This was perplexing because he always loves the beach and wants to go there at home. We quickly realized part of his reluctance was due to tummy issues, and we couldn’t blame him for wanting to stay close to “home.” And I also suspect that the ocean gives a lot more sensory input than the beach near our house. Too much sensory input, apparently. So, we took turns going to the beach–as we have with so many things through the years while on vacation.

Family vacation is essential, even if it’s only four days long. It was renewing to be with Jay after a summer of working opposite shifts and sometimes going days without seeing each other for more than 10 minutes at a time. It was peace-giving to leave cell phones and computers behind and be present with our tribe. It was glorious to have every meal lavishly prepared by Taylor, our gourmet, and to sit together and feast. It was rewarding to read a novel in four days. Vacation is the best.

And it’s wonderful to come home to a place we love.

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