No way can it be possible that we have owned our wonderful beach house for 5 years now? (Yes, I did use the occasion to bake and eat cake) But really? Everyone says time goes too quickly and it sure does seem that way. Our first few Summers at Just a Dream were just that. A dream. We felt like we were living in the clouds and you had to keep pinching us to make sure that this was really real. Our youngest child learned how to walk at that house, we taught our older kids how to ride bikes at that house, Greg picked up another new hobby there, and I taught myself how to paddleboard there. These all seem like such distant memories as our youngest is 5, is at school full day and is learning to read now. Our son Eric is at a new boys school where he ties a tie everyday and attends mass almost daily. Addy, our oldest and quite frankly gentlest little soul, just learned she is a beach cruiser bike girl and now bikes at full speed on her bike around the neighborhood and she babysits her little sister so well. 5 year ago me never would have thought these things possible but here we are.
A lot has changed since October of 2017 when we initially purchased the home and thought that the only way to make it work would be by renting it out. In reality our hearts were already so deep within the soul of our house that never happened. We have spent birthdays, holidays, and even an entire Pandemic there. And let’s be honest everything I just mentioned was made all the sweeter because it was there. Christmas has a whole new meaning when you can put up your 9 foot Christmas tree and then grab some hot cocoa and go run on the beach on the same day. A pandemic…no problem. I admit toilet paper was still scarce there but really we couldn’t have had a more enjoyable “quarantine”. We discovered new beaches, beaches that we probably should not have swum in but we were desperate, and that school really was optional at that point because the amount we learned in nature was infinite.
This past Summer was pretty rad as our kids would say. My husband, I still can’t figure it out, got flexibility from his day job and was able to spend every day with us in Bethany. Was it a dream? Totally. I mean we had a few kinks to work out in terms of schedule and such but with a little communication it worked. Not to mention that really if you want to find me and the kids you only have to go to one street in the whole town. We loved having Dad home and his cuddles and laughter were boundless every day. We purchased a pontoon boat last fall and Greg mastered captaining through the unfavorably shallow waters of our canal and the bay. I found myself on the boat sitting there with my shoulders up at my ears filled with tension and terror at being on a moving object with no brakes and pretty poor steering control. But we are all learning. I prefer driving the boat at 3mph back home up the canal with sunburned bodies and groovy music. I also admit I prefer at least 4 feet of water below the decks but we can’t be too choosy about that.
We have never rented our home but we have certainly welcomed many family and friends into it. Two of the most poignant memories of gatherings in our home in the past 5 years are when my grandfather, probably 95 at the time, came over for dinner and as he sat at the head of the table I could tell he approved of our home and the legacy that he started by coming to Bethany over 50 years ago. Another amazing memory is when we decided to host 14 kids and 6 adults in our home for several days. It was crazy and more fun than I have ever had. The only moments of peace and quiet you could find were in the bathroom if you were lucky. We had too many cars in the driveway, one large camper, and kids running all over. We tie dyed shirts in our backyard (my favorite craft) made all of the kids wear them, line up on the dock in age order, and take pictures. We have learned that opening our dream home to others makes memories forever and that is what we always wanted when we bought Just a Dream 5 years ago.
Our home isn’t done. We are always thinking of ways to improve and make it better for us but it always feels like home and I think that is the most important thing about Just a Dream. So cheers to 5 years!!!!