Monday, May 17, 2010

On the boardwalk in Ocean City, sitting behind a family of four. Mom, Dad, two little girls ... uh, make that three. A baby’s head has popped up on her mother’s shoulder, smiling away. Her biggest sister eagerly introduces the whole clan. I watch and remember as they deftly juggle children and ice cream cones, never a simple maneuver.
    My husband joins me on the bench, and we reminisce about boardwalk visits (long) past: our daughter, maybe 4 years old, her little face and long brown hair spattered with soft-serve chocolate,  a casualty of strong winds. Years earlier, our son, maybe 3, heading down the ramp to the beach, ice cream in hand … and then, in a blink, ice cream on the wooden planks, melting away.
    No such tragedy befell the girls in front of us.
    We talk with the young family for a bit, mentioning our children, now both in college, how we’re down the shore for our 25th anniversary, just the two of us for the weekend.
    The dad of three smiled and said, “That’s why you look so relaxed.”
    Yes, there are perks to getting older.

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