Another Summer Begins on LBI With Growing Grandkids

By LYNNE MacKNIGHT | Jun 13, 2018

I am grateful another summer has begun in Beach Haven. Our older son and his family came to our LBI house for the long Memorial Day weekend. The weather was not completely wonderful, but they and their four sons didn’t seem to mind at all.

My takeaway was that it is hard to fill up four very big boys. In two days they drank two half gallons of orange juice and much else in similar quantities. They range from 15 to 20, and all are over 6 feet tall. I feel like a munchkin among them. One is in college and next year another will follow, and then the next will be looking at college in another year.

It was great fun. At a low point in the weather, I got my son to play Scrabble with me. Neither of us had played for many years, but it was fun, even when he beat me handily. Less than stellar weather gave the grownups lots of time to chat. My husband pointed out, when I may have expressed my desire for better weather, that it gave us time to talk and enjoy. He was, of course, correct.

We stock a pretty good selection of books, and I found one by John Grisham that was compelling enough to keep my interest in long stretches. In better weather I might have been reading on the porch or on the beach, but books are entertaining wherever you may be.

With temperatures heading to the high ranges, another grandson, along with a friend, is coming to the beach for just a couple of days before they begin summer jobs. Our grandchildren, for the most part, have reached a period of self-reliance. It is something, as parents, we all hope for our offspring, but still it is a bit shocking to me how fast families change.

This coming September another of our children will send the last child off to college. Our third child’s family has three daughters and lives on the West Coast. They make the huge effort to travel to Beach Haven each summer. Their girls are twins at 10 years old and an 8-year-old.

My husband I speculate on how long this pilgrimage will continue. Kids grow so fast, and we wonder when the girls will rather stay home. They love all the cousins, and it is mutual, but the older kids are now into jobs, and some will not be able to see the girls this summer.

Life is so different for them than it was for us. When our summer rolled around, my husband ran a ride in Wildwood and I drove the tram on the boardwalk. We had carefree summers, where my husband and I fell in love.

Even our three kids were able to work here in Beach Haven. They were store clerks and restaurant workers. In those days, it was not imperative to think of your future grown-up life. Summer was to enjoy, and they did. We had our cottage, so I stayed at the beach for the summer so I could feed and keep track of our three. My husband came every weekend and rushed back to his job Monday mornings before the sun was up. We remember those days with fondness.

Now some things are harder for us than when we were young. In opening our house this year, we called on a couple of grandsons to come and help move furniture and carry heavy stuff. They are more than willing and understand how much we appreciate the help. We accept that soon they will be scattering hither and yon and will not be in the place where they have played every summer until now.

I know, as all older folks know, that life is change, and it is more important than ever to enjoy every precious moment. We all have ups and downs, and it is normal to think sometimes there are too many downs, but still we have to look for a “silver lining,” as an old song suggested.

I was able to take my walk twice while at the beach, and only missed my dog companion. We lost our English springer spaniel a couple of years ago and deemed it is too late to get another dog. I do, however, like to see other people’s dogs. While I was at the beach, a man went by the house as I was leaving for my walk. He had a handsome dog that pulled on his leash in my direction. I offered him my hand, and as he seemed friendly, I rubbed his ears.

I have been an animal lover since my earliest days. I begged for a dog when I was a kid, but my parents didn’t get one until I was about 10. I loved that dog and taught him enough tricks so that he was entertainment at family gatherings. Before I got the dog, I caught bees in a glass jar to watch them for a few minutes and then would toss the jar on the grass without a lid and watch them fly away. I brought stray animals home and kept them until they were evicted by my parents.

My dog stopped all that. He was all I needed then.

Lynne MacKnight lives in Princeton Junction, N.J., and Beach Haven.




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