So that, on top of two days of driving, sleeping and eating habits all off-kilter, a bus load of family...and my kids--mostly Juniper--were dissolving, melting down at every turn. It was frustrating. To have driven all that way for shitty weather, no clams and kids falling into tantrums during the time of year they actually see some family members. Grrrr.
But. Then. The clouds parted, the storm cleared. All of them. The kids suddenly perked up and remembered grandmas and cousins are awesome. The pelting rain turned to an only occasional drizzle. Clams were showing faster than we could dig; the biggest clams we've seen in years.
We hit the coast this year with the biggest gang yet. We even roped-in my husband's cousin and his wife from West Virginia, and our dear friends (our adopted family) from Idaho. My husband's brother's family joined us for the first time since their 5 year old was a baby. Plus we had the usual suspects: my mom, my stepmom, my brother, my oldest brother and his wife and daughter, my cousin...did I forget anyone? (We missed my dad this year who opted for a last-minute opportunity to rural China--can't blame him.)
I think all that family was a blur to Juniper and Hazel, with one distinct exception: Aspen. My 11 year old niece. They talked about her the entire two day drive: what they were going to do when they saw her, what she was going to do when she saw them, what they would play, how they would clam together, fly kites together.... Hazel talked about Aspen as much as Juniper, but it had been a year since they saw her...could she actually have remembered or was she feeding off Juniper? I still don't know. Regardless, they were instant best friends. Almost constantly, ringing through the rental house you could hear either Juniper's loud "Aspen!" or Hazel's raspy "Aaaaaaspeeeeeeen!" followed immediately by pitter-pattering feet, laughter and squeals. Good stuff.
Up next: last one.