Last weekend we said our first good bye – and it was much more emotional to than I would have expected. Ever since our mom died a few years ago, my sister and I have arranged to enjoy some family camping time on the Sonoma Coast at least twice each year. Typically we meet for Thanksgiving and Mother’s Day, but this year we had to alter our plans as Auntie Mar (the ultimate kid-magnet) and Uncle Roland (a close second for ultimate kid-magnet) are heading north to Alaska for the summer! As a newly retired couple, they are enjoying the freedoms of no work and no schedule by revisiting where they went on their honeymoon, but for a bit longer this time. Since they won’t be around when we leave in July, we wanted to make sure we had one last “hurrah” before they left. And, while we are incredibly excited to hear of their adventures as they adjust to retired life on the road, we are also incredibly sad to know that this was the last time we may see them for a year or two. Our cousin, Beth, was able to join us as it was likely the last time we see her too. In some ways it was a turning of the tables as soon we will be the ones leaving on a grand adventure, but for now we are the ones left behind. While we had an awesome weekend, it was somewhat melancholy to have to say goodbye….especially with so much work left for us to do.
The weekend was a glorious April weekend along the California coast. The place we usually go camping is north of San Francisco near Bodega Bay. We wanted to try someplace new this time, so headed a bit further (it ended up being MUCH further) up the coast. The weather was typical for CA at this time of the year – overcast to begin but then the clouds broke on Saturday afternoon and we were able to enjoy the “sunny but cool” CA weather that makes for wonderful camping. As we drove through Bodega Bay on our way to our campsite, we saw signs for a “Fisherman’s Festival” on Saturday so, of course, had to go see what is involved in a “Fisherman’s Festival”. While the festival was a little less than overly exciting, there was a wooden boat building and racing competition that provided a fair bit of amusement and lots of craft booths to peruse. The concept is actually pretty cool – teams of contestants get 2 hours to build a wooden boat from scratch then race it around a short course to see whose boat is most sea-worthy. Watching the building was fun but we weren’t able to stay long enough to see the actual “race”.
Probably the most “exciting” thing that happened from my perspective was that while we were wandering through the stalls, I saw a guy that looked a lot like one of my old river guide buddies … and it ends up that it was one! It was fun to catch up with someone who I haven’t seen in nearly 20 years – he still looks the same so was easy to recognize – and to see how life progresses from being carefree 20-somethings to a settled, professional life that includes parenthood. Lucia started asking all sorts of questions about how I knew this guy, what I did when I was a river guide (only some stories are appropriate for a 10 year old), how being a parent is different than being a river guide (totally honey…isn’t that an interesting bird over there?), etc. and, of course, we had to eat our fill of oysters and calamari so I was able to distract her from querying me more about my life back then. Score another one for distraction!
When we got home Sunday evening, Lu, Colburn and I sat in the bedroom and talked of our “first good byes” and how change can make us more than a little sad. It’s a good lesson to learn, especially since we will soon be on the leaving side of the equation. Beth, my cousin, said, “You know, it’s always easier on the ones leaving than the ones staying behind.” This was our weekend to learn that lesson.