We’re home from a week of vacation, the likes of which I haven’t experienced in a long time. We laughed and sang and ran and played and ate and thought and relaxed– relaxed more than we have in probably 5 years. It was invigorating and restful and better than any dreams this forward-thinker had in mind. We walked in the sun, finding rocks as smooth and flat as polished brass, seashells symmetrical, ridged in perfection. We rushed up our little path so we made it back to the porch in time to watch the sunset every night, sitting on the ledge as if it was an event not to miss. We searched the night and found constellations, dug our toes in the sand as we looked up at a black sky riddled with bright stars, stood there long enough looking up until we felt like we were falling in. We talked of good things, deep things, long-held thoughts and happy dreams. Plans and ideas and wordless looks passing between us as we watched our three children enjoying this place we both love. We held hands and walked in the early morning, just the two of us, finding new spots and remembering old places from our childhood, mentioning old names and acquaintances, remembering happy times spent here, individually and now together through the years. I saw the end of my 31st year, standing on the same Atlantic shore where I had spent some birthdays as a child. The sun set slowly, a huge orange orb settling into a pool of obsidian ink. I felt a prayer of thankfulness, a hope of the future standing there, remembering the sounds of now long-grown children, thinking of 5 young girls who ran in this same place. Thinking of another long-standing house on another grass-covered hill, running down the sand dunes, the rush of freedom filling our lungs with its salt air. Wondering if this is why we came as children, if this is why my parents let us learn to love this place, too. Its countless churning shores, long sand-strewn roads, its windy hills and starry nights. I stood there that night, the last one of my 31 years, hearing the voices of our 3 children renewing that memory, taking their place in this big world. Full of hope, ready to start another day with the ones I love. A good way to begin 32. A really good way.