much

part two in a week-long series about the rituals of summer-vacation-taking

she doesn't care for the beach much
but
this is where they have wanted to come
every year
since the oldest one could say the word ocean
so
she packed the sunscreen the bathingsuits the raggedy towels
and proceeded to have fun
their way.
she got tangles out of hair
she held hands jumping over waves
she made rules about how late they could walk on the pier without a grownup.
today
she sits on the porch of the rental, half-reading her book as they and their spouses unload the cars
bringing in water wings and sand pails and sunshades.
she watches them swarm into the kitchen where she earlier unloaded the only kind of macaroni the toddler will eat, the favorite potato chips for the son-in-law, the special milk for the one with allergies
all things she knew to bring without them even asking.
she feels the place fill up with her favorite kind of noise, the unconscious noise of family, and keeps it to herself that
she doesn't care for the beach much.