This photo comes from the year 2000. It was taken on a city bench outside a favorite restaurant of ours in Myrtle Beach, the Sea Captain's House. The kids on the ends are my own, Sarah left and Ben right. The two in the middle are my nieces by my sister and brother in-law.
For a time when the kids were growing up, Myrtle Beach was an Easter weekend destination for us and our New York family. They drove down from Rochester and we drove 20 hours from Wisconsin. We rented a condominium across the road from the ocean beach. It was an escape from the long winter and cool spring for both families as well as my Mother and Father in-law.
If you put me in front of a beach, I'll sit there all week, so Myrtle Beach was a bit of heaven for me. Of course the kids loved it because they had a week together with their cousins, as shown in the picture.
The picture says a lot about where we were as parents. Sarah never liked having her picture taken, so many of her shots look forced. Ben, on the other hand was at that distractible age of almost 2 years old. Halle and Leah in the middle are doing their best to smile in hopes that it will all be over soon.
But the picture also reminds me of how much work it was during those days. The lifting, and diapering and dressing and feeding and consoling was a relative constant. This is not to say it overshadowed all of the joy and love that was part of it, only that the endless, sometimes exhausting duties sometimes tempered the ability to soak it all in.
There are days I'd love to have my kids back at this age for a couple of days, just to remind me what it was like. I miss so much of it, but I'm sure a couple days back at it would change my perspective in a hurry. I do love my college and college-graduate kids as much as I did these little ones.
But still, that picture though...