My Weekend Story: A Perfect Day

If you asked me to write a story about last Saturday, my suggestion for a working title would be: A Perfect Day.

I admitted last week that choosing the most life-giving story isn’t always my predilection. But some days you just can’t help but say to yourself: This story is so good. And like all good stories, it gets even better with retelling.

I woke up early; while John went for a run, I chose effortful before effortless (thanks, Laura) and got out of bed to do a wonderfully gentle yoga/stretching video from Wandering Alice. When John got home, we traded off kid duty and I headed to the grocery store. It was early and there were no lineups. I wasn’t in a rush. I got home to fresh, hot coffee and a 7-year-old asking me to watch him play basketball in the driveway.

Sure thing, little buddy.

I watched Levi sink baskets while Abby sat in a chair beside me to draw. The sun was warm, the air was crisp, the coffee was hot. Neighbours saw us outside and dropped over for a visit. Last fall the kids planted garlic with them; Levi harvested his garlic a few weeks ago and it was now sufficiently dry and ready for collection. He came back across the street cradling “his” garlic with the pride of a seasoned farmer. I chatted with the neighbours about their pending retirement and continued to enjoy my coffee while John prepped a picnic lunch for one last adventure.

While I’m happy with all the fun adventures we’ve crammed into the summer, this particular year it sometimes felt impossibly long and busy. Knowing this was it – the “last summer hurrah” we told the kids as we hopped in the car – made it feel extra special and relaxing.

We didn’t know where we were headed; as much as I’m a willing slave to routine, it was nice to not have a concrete plan. We’ve done this sort of thing before, buckling up and heading down the road, making decisions as we hit forks in the road – literally!

We ate ham and cheese sandwiches on buttery mini croissants while driving. The kids listened to music in the back seat while John and I talked about the future in the front.

Since I knew a beach stop might be in the works, I had come armed with coats. There was a nip in the air, and I didn’t expect much water play. But the sun surprised us all with unexpected warmth. We eventually settled on a destination and while this particular area – Beach Meadows – doesn’t draw huge crowds, it is gorgeous. Teal waters and white sand. I completed my daily 1 km walk on the beach. We played football in the surf, Abby and John braved the water with boogie boards. We climbed rocks and explored tidal pools (which included a surprise appearance by a large crab!).

At one point I walked out into the water and just stood there alone. The sun was warm, the water was cool. The Bible talks about how we can see God in creation. And it’s true. When I look up at the stars on a clear night, His majesty is on full display. But at the ocean, His power seems even more tangible. It’s like I can see and hear and feel Him in the crash of the waves. I thought about all of this while I stood there, wholly contented in the water. (The natural white noise also meant I missed out on a minor sibling crisis unfolding behind me. I was blissfully unaware of this hiccup which was handled competently by John before I headed back to shore!)

When everyone was still happy (remember Dot’s wisdom about leaving a party before you’re ready?) we made our way to Western Head Lighthouse. The kids have been requesting a return visit to this spot lately, so it was fortuitous we ended up in the area. How life has changed; the last time we were here – in the middle of the pandemic – Levi hadn’t even started school. Now he’s in Grade 2 and doesn’t need any help climbing even the biggest of rocks; Abby spent most of her time sitting on the breakwater sketching the lighthouse.

We didn’t stay long, but even twenty minutes of climbing rocks by the Atlantic Ocean feels restorative. We detoured to a local wharf – complete with quaintly dilapidated buildings – for a quick round of fishing for the boys. There were nibbles and they managed to land a few crabs, but fish were elusive.

One child napped on the way home. Naps are a rare occurrence these days, but they still warm my heart. We stopped to grab some takeout sushi in a neighbouring town. Everyone showered, the kids ate and put on a movie while John and I had an at-home date night. How I’ve missed these over the summer. Between travel and company, our weekly time slots – normally fiercely protected – have been jostled out of place. I’m excited to get back into a regular routine of spending some weekend time alone together. I had picked up some lobster and shrimp ravioli earlier in the day and with a bit of sushi on the side, supper was spot-on.

Mid-evening some other neighbours stopped by with fresh corn and beans they had picked earlier in the day. My Neighbours That Love Us Very Much storybook was being read aloud a lot on Saturday.

Then we fell asleep with the windows open, crisp September breezes flowing through.

It was, in almost every way, a perfect day.

Not all days can be perfect. Most are not. And, like a break, one great day doesn’t magically undo all the stress or exhaustion caused by whatever is going on in life. But it sure is a wonderful place to start.

Your turn. Any “perfect” days lately? If not, what’s your idea of a perfect day, start to finish?

P.S. Here’s a throwback to our very first trip to Beach Meadows (2019). We hadn’t planned on stopping at the beach. We had no bathing suits or towels, but a stroll along the water’s edge morphed into full submersion and an hour of play in the sand. It was another nearly perfect day.

Also? Look how tiny my babies were 3 years ago. Time flies…

18 thoughts on “My Weekend Story: A Perfect Day”

  1. Wow, that does sound perfect. I feel the same way you do, but about the mountains. Whenever I go hiking in the mountains I stop and think how amazing the universe is. I’m so glad you had such a wonderful day!

  2. I’m envious of your proximity to the ocean and Nicole’s proximity to the mountains! We have neither of those things near us! It’s beautiful here, but in a different way. I do feel that sense of awe when running or walking around the lake by our house and I know we are lucky to live so close to beautiful lakes with running/biking paths.

    Sunday was a pretty perfect day for us. We were gone from 9:30-7:45 which is a long day for littles but it was wonderful. We were at my MIL’s from 10-2 and then went to Phil’s friend’s place from 2-7ish. I got to see how well Paul knows his Nana’s house now. I usually stay home with Will when they go out to see her. It was cute to see that he knows where she keeps the markers and puzzles and such. And then the friend get together was great. Phil lucked out and has amazing HS friends. I had a total opposite experience from him, but he had a graduating class of like 500 and I had 28… I’m glad my boys will go to bigger schools where they can find their people like Phil did!

    1. It’s so great to “find your people.” The happy advantage of marrying a spouse with “people” is there can be some great overlap of friendships that develop.

      One of my absolute favourite things is to watch other people love my kids. And I adore seeing how well my kids know their grandparents. It’s a special relationship and I appreciate when they show signs of feeling at home together or evening having inside stories or jokes that I don’t understand because they’ve carved out time alone together.

      Sounds like a great weekend on your end. Hooray!

  3. You’re right, that is a perfectly perfect day! The ocean truly is just like you described, I’m always in awe and so grateful to live near beaches. I feel like God could have made the world and all of his creations so boring but instead he made everything so beautiful.

    1. Couldn’t agree more – the beauty He imparted through nature is SUCH a gift (and subtly – or not so subtly – declare His glory!).

  4. This is beautiful! The words, the day, the photos- all of it! Whenever I hear about other people going on all sorts of fun local adventures, I sometimes feel guilty that we haven’t been doing enough of that sort of thing. When the boys were younger, I feel like we hit up the zoo, the parks, our botanical garden, nature walks, lake days, etc. ALL the time. And now I feel like we barely ever do that sort of thing. In part, because our weekends are often filled up instead at soccer games or swim meets, which didn’t exist back then as much. Also, we have traveled a good amount this year, or just been busy in general, so when we finally have some free moments, I honestly don’t really feel like doing this sort of thing!! But then I feel guilty to say that on a long weekend day, all I really wanted to do was sit around home and watch TV or something. I need to be a bit more intentional about fitting in at least some of these activities, because time is so fleeting and we don’t even have that many years left with the boys at home!! It’s scary. We haven’t taken enough advantage of our local treasures lately- we live in a beautiful place, too, with many neat things to do. Or maybe it’s ok, because we HAVE done them, just not recently? Is it necessary to do them all the time? haha. I don’t know! Anyway, this looked amazing and relaxing and so peaceful. What a perfect day indeed!

    1. I really think these things are so “seasonal.” We’re really in the right window of time with our kids because they are still more tied to home. With each year of growing independence, I think we’ll likely feel more tied to various activities/extracurriculars/summer jobs.
      Also, you do SO much. All the big trips and the very high level at which your boys compete in sports. It’s wonderful and just a different path from what we’re on (at least right now when the kids are still relatively young).
      No guilt! You have wonderful adventures and your kids seem to just love life and all the opportunities that come their way. Keep up the great work!!

  5. As always, the photos are breathtaking. You live in a beautiful place. While we have the ocean and mountain within a 2-hour driving distance, we don’t go nearly often enough (it’s hard to get Jon out of the house sometimes, and through the pandemic… well, you know, we were all homebodies in a way). I hope to change that.

    I love that you just went and decided on the fly where you wanted to go. That makes for the best days!

    1. Here I have to give full credit to my John. I think I would stay home at least 50% of the time if someone else wasn’t enthusiastic to get out and explore. I will also say that having the kids makes it feel necessary some times, too. They are extroverted and high energy and LOVE TO ADVENTURE. So sometimes it really is so much easier to get them out of the house and expose them to something fun. They don’t mind sitting home and watching videos or playing with friends, but they tend to be happiest when they’re in a novel environment exploring.

      I love when amazing days don’t announce the fact that they’re likely to morph into such a great time. It was just a regular Saturday morning and I didn’t have overly high expectations of the time. And that just made the result all the sweeter.

  6. I LOVE days like this. You can’t really plan them, but somehow everything comes together and it dawns on you- “this is the best day of the whole summer.” I could imagine it perfectly from your description. And your photos are so, so beautiful! What a nice way to end the summer.
    I would say the most “perfect” day I’ve had lately was when I took my son to college but then ended up having a day to myself to explore Waco. I had an amazing trail run and then a fun afternoon of shopping. Then I met up with my son and we went out to dinner. That was pretty perfect!

    1. Yes – exactly. I plan SO many things, so it’s nice when things just naturally work out so perfectly without advance planning. It’s not predictable of course – most days are pretty average. But I do think this was (at least in terms of the whole day experience) my favourite day of the whole summer!

      Your day sounds lovely. Exploring a new spot and getting out in nature are two prime ingredients for a great day!

  7. What a wonderful day to hold close and savor and cherish!
    I remember talking with a friend once who was lamenting the difficulty of internet dating, and we were googling good questions to ask on a first date. “Describe your perfect day.” was one of the suggestions that came up. “Well,” I said, “A perfect day – I would wake up. Have a New York bagel with lox, then run a marathon, then find the cure for cancer, then win the lottery, then read a Russian novel, then go to bed early.” None of which I’m ever really likely to do… well except eat a New York bagel with lox. I think at the time, I thought about the question as a theoretical one – what would be the most amazing thing to happen to you in one day.
    The day you had – full of things that recharge the soul – that’s pretty amazing too.

    1. Wow – that is a very full and productive day you had in mind. A marathon! Epic reading! Curing cancer! I don’t think it would have occurred to me to describe my perfect day in those sort of terms, but it makes a lot of sense! How inspirational.
      More realistically though, yes, a perfect day to me is something that recharges the soul which is just what I got. I think these days might be slightly harder for me to achieve because I’m introverted but also love to share great memories with my family. It can be difficult to strike the right balance, which this day did perfectly. I walked for 1 km alone and spent time just standing in the ocean alone, but I also felt close to my family the whole time. And sushi for supper never hurts…

    1. Not nearly as many stunning pictures as your beach day, though! I’m STILL thinking about how beautifully those family photos turned out <3 Maybe it will inspire me to finally bite the bullet and get our family photos done for the year (which we'll likely just do ourselves this time with a tripod?).

  8. I love this so much, Elisabeth! It seems like all of your favorite things at once: plenty of time to spend with your family, being in nature/the beach, chatting with neighbors, and a date night with John. How special!

  9. What a lovely, perfect day for you. The unanticipated nature makes it even more perfect, in my opinion. No planning for the perfect day (then fretting, as I would, when it didn’t happen exactly as planned…). Something for all family members. Being together. Being outside. Being in so many beautiful places.
    I am so glad, too, that you and John got a date night on the same day. What a lovely way to cap things off and – I hope – shift you back into more of a routine.
    Finally, what you said about the ocean really resonated with me. While I don’t share your beliefs, I do share your perspective on the beauty and order of our natural world… and I fret that I do not appreciate it as much as I should. Thank you for reminding me of how much I love it, how much I miss it when I do not seek it out, and that I must build in time to go and be in nature, wherever that may be. (Unfortunately, for me, not the ocean, but… there is beauty everywhere, if we just know where to look…)

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