After breakfast, we spent another hour or so in the sun, then a relatively active half-hour packing the car and checking out, then – you guessed it – another hour or so poolside, to gather motivation for the drive home, or something. At this point, the relaxation had sunk deep into my bones in a very good way. There wasn’t much that could bother me then on any level - I was slightly annoyed that we didn't have the makings for Bloody Marys, but it was no big deal.
We talked about next year’s retreat. The Sea Gate Inn recently bought a small beach house next door to the Inn, ocean-side. They will be renovating it over the next year or so, and adding a hot tub (WHEEE!!!) It’s three bedrooms, so we’re seriously considering bringing the whole whiskey clan next time. Or… maybe not. Hmmm. On the walk down to breakfast that morning, we had also noticed – ok, I noticed, let’s be honest, I got all excited and sputtery and inarticulate like I do when I’m really excited – an Aveeda day spa within walking distance from our hotel. So we’re thinking a half-day at the spa may be part of the agenda next year (I am, anyway!)
I didn’t really want to leave just yet. But I was OK with the concept of curling up in the back seat of the car with Dan Browne and having some words of wisdom with Richard Langdon, the main character of The DaVinci Code. It’s a strange book – but well written, a decent thriller, and very interesting if you’re into arcane symbols and legends – which, of course, I am. I have to admit I was somewhat uncomfortable with the way goddess worship and the pagan concept of balance and nature worship etc etc has been brought into the mainstream. I mean, the … well, crap, if I say much more this paragraph will turn into a spoiler, and we can’t have that. Suffice it to say it was strange to see so many of my own deeply-held beliefs mirrored by a best-selling novel. I wanted to say, “Hush up – you can’t talk about that stuff in the Bible Belt! What are you thinking???”
We headed back, and Buffy drove again. We made great time and still didn’t get pulled over – we’re all very proud of Buffy for her restraint over the weekend (driving, that is.) I was looking forward to seeing Duckie. There were many kids around her age on the beach, and I couldn’t help but think how much she would enjoy the water, and all that space just to run. Later, Husband told me that the tidal pools at Sunset Beach have migrated back to where they were when he was a kid – so that’s a good sign that Duckie needs to go to the beach, as far as I’m concerned.
There was a rough spot for me on the ride back. I had just finished the book and I was staring another hour of riding in the face. It was almost time to come back down to earth and jump back into the reality of my life and all the uncertainties it involves. I had a hard time with that. Luckily, Elizabeth had brought the latest Southern Living, so I picked through the recipes and dragged myself back from the brink of a big crying jag, which would have really been a downer.
We got back slightly earlier than I had anticipated. Husband was giving Duckie a bath, and I peeked into the bathroom to say hi. She stood up and started jumping around in the tub, terribly excited to see me. And for a moment, I hardly recognized her. It was a strange sensation – I knew this was my daughter, but I had been away from her for longer than I ever had been since she was born. She didn’t smell the same, didn’t quite feel the same, and damned if it didn’t look like she had grown while I was gone! I picked her up and finished her bath ritual while the ladies somehow figured out what stuff was mine and unpacked it from the car. I sat Duckie on the changing table to do the lotion thing, and it suddenly struck me how much she looks like her aunt, Husband’s sister in Florida, who had her own baby in January. It's wild what a difference two days can make.
I’m holding on to that difference. I’m trying to remember the sound of those waves.