Our big family vacation has come and gone. We spent a week in the Outer Banks at a house in Salvo, NC. And when I say big, I'm not joking. Twenty-seven people slept in one house, with ages from two to seventy-six years...unless you are the company that leased to us, in which case, I'm lying.
You were a near perfect child and everyone was in love with your giggles. One night, while your dad and I took an after dinner walk along the beach, the family kept you entertained. You spent most of that time shining a flashlight into various willing victims eyes until they reacted in some theatrical fashion. By far, the act that received the most North giggles was my Uncle Randy flailing his body on the living room floor. At one point, you were so exhausted with laughter that you got a very stern look and yelled, "stop it!"
There were a ton of kids at the house, all vying for your attention and acting as little helpers to me all week. The younger boys, in particular, came on many of our daily walks. They would spend the walk bartering out agreements dictating when it was the other boys turn to push your stroller. Then you got up out of your stroller and wanted to push it yourself. That put the power struggle between them entirely out of whack because they already understood that the baby in the family trumps all.
Hanging out with them took me back to my own childhood and caring for the younger kids. That's such a valuable aspect of families that still live in the same town. We grew up with our cousins, aunts and uncles as if they were siblings and care givers. In my hometown, the adage "it takes a village" to this day, still applies. Seeing those same babies I used to lug around with my ten year old body, now as adults is proof of how important those connections are. Watching the hilarious disputes over who can do stuff for the baby between the current batch of the kids confirms it. The circle continues and no matter what, the family is always there to support you.
Your great grandmother came along for the ride, whom you took to calling Gigi, for short. One morning, she emerged from the elevator and you exclaimed, "hi Gigi" with a wave. That was the cherry on top of her vacation sundae. Another of my favorite moments was getting her to the beach for a view of the ocean in her metal rickshaw. Her grandkids and older great grand kids had already brought her halfway and were taking a break when I crossed on top of the dune to take pictures. I expected a more joking scene, but when I came upon them, her trust in them and their devotion to getting her to the shore was quite moving. She made it to the beach on three very memorable occasions