I didn’t post a True Vine Challenge Friday night. I couldn’t string together words about abiding, when I was in the middle of a huge argument that nearly ruined the final night of our vacation.
We spent the better part of the week at Ocean Isle Beach, NC. We took long walks and found all manner of shells – including highly sought after conch shells and sand dollars. We watched sunrises and sunsets and gathered in front of the television each night for a family movie. We played Spot It! “a thousand times.”
Our relaxed scheduled afforded us the luxury of lingering over meals. All six of us, together as a family with no practices or meetings to hurry off to.
There were the occasional sibling squabbles, but nothing so horrible that we wondered if we’d lost our minds, like the first summer we were married and went to Disney when temperatures exceeded 100 degrees and tempers ran even hotter.
On Thanksgiving Day we took our first ever Family Polar Bear swim. We charged Hannah, less adventurous than the rest of us, with capturing the moment on camera. Five of us held hands and ran through cool, white sand to ocean’s edge.
Peter and Morgan dove straight in. Jake waded out a little slower. Without previously discussing plans and before our ankles even got wet, Michaela and I simultaneously ran back to the thick, soft, sand, laughing all the way.
I remembered my polarized sunglasses (the ones held together on the left side by a paper clip that snags my hair when I take them off) were on top of my head. I’d already gone to great lengths to save those shades and I didn’t want to offer them up freely to the tide.
I’m not entirely sure why Michaela ran back, other than to follow my lead. At any rate, once I dropped the shades on top of my towel and flip flops, we both ran back to the waves. This time, however, I stepped in deeper.
Without any warning, the frigid water stole my breath. About the time the waves reached my waist, I decided I was polar bear enough.
I had just taken a shower and washed my hair and didn’t want to use up the hot water. I’m selfless that way. Always thinking of my family.
Michaela waded all the way out to her father and thus managed to get wet, straight up to her neck.
She is nothing if not determined!
Afterwards, we all went back to the beach house, showered, changed clothes and enjoyed fresh shrimp and homemade cocktail sauce appetizers. We ate turkey and mashed potatoes with dressing and gravy. We nearly consumed the entire sweet potato casserole topped half with pecans and brown sugar and half with marshmallows.
(Marshmallows! Pure sacrilege to someone like me, who grew up with a pecan tree in the front yard. I couldn’t have imagined then how expensive pecans would be when I was all grown up, or that I’d now be wishing I could walk outside, pick up a couple of pecans and smash them together in my hands to reveal the sweet kernels.)
We counted gifts. Used Ann’s weekly gifts printout and said them ’round the table during Thanksgiving dinner.
On Friday morning, I wrote a beautiful True Vine Challenge post in my head as the waves lapped my toes. I fully intended to put the draft on paper (so to speak) later that afternoon, but then Peter ended up having to take Archie to the vet.
The vet diagnosed Archie with a severe case of hot spots (not the wifi kind), put him on prednisone and antibiotics and gave us a medicated powder to use twice a day on the red patches.
Two hundred dollars later…
We managed to take a walk at sunset and danced right there on the beach. Michaela snapped a picture with my phone.
I was in love all over again – the stuff great blog posts are made of.
After dinner, we played Scrabble.
That’s when it went downhill.
I scored a yahtzee on my first turn.
It didn’t take long to roll another. FIVES!
By the end of that game, I had rolled three yahtzee’s and was more than a little excited. Despite photos I shared on Instagram captioned, “It’s good to be me,” I thought I was displaying great humility.
However, when others left their seats before I finished counting my score, I was a PUT OUT! I complained so much that my opponents returned to their places at the long green table, though with decidedly less enthusiasm than at the game’s beginning.
They endured my whining for a few minutes when the timer went off, reminding us to give Archie his medicine. Peter glanced my way with raised brows, saying “I need to give Archie his medicine.” Only, his sentenced sounded more like a question.
I gave him my, “OK,” (I won’t be mad, nod of approval) and continued tallying my score using the calculator app on my phone. My total was higher than any single game I’ve ever played.
After a moment, I noticed one opponent was now in the living room and Peter was in the kitchen.
In that short amount of time, I forgot he was giving Archie meds. (I was excited.) Once again, I voiced my frustration, only this time, with increased decibel levels commensurate with my mounting arrogance.
That’s when it Hit. The. Fan!
I’m not proud to admit it, but for the rest of the evening, Peter and I tiptoed around another, or ignored each other altogether.
Somehow, writing a blog post about the True Vine Challenge seemed hypocritical when I had hardly spoken to my husband for hours because I was being so…stubborn.
Why is it easier to love people on the other side of town than those under my own roof (especially when that roof is on a beach house)?
“Love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. ”
- John 15:12-13
I still have so much to learn!
In the comments below, won’t you please tell me a good True Vine Challenge story?