the suitcases were latched and the car almost loaded when we realized - one of the bikes from our rental house had gone missing.
it was nowhere to be found. we were in the midst of our leaving. vacation was ending and a six hour drive home was about to begin.
and there was nothing to do but go searching.
yep, parental frustration at its very best, i tell you. you'll require little effort to imagine our tone: "how did this happen? who is at fault? why aren't we more careful?"
surely some child was to blame.
we eyeballed all five.
not one came clean.
they stood there in their shrugging and shifting selves. careful looks of cluelessness creeping across their tan faces. there was no time to draw out a confession and no desire to demand guilt in these final minutes of precious vacation. hopping on the golf cart, my teenage son and i offered to take on the task and begin the search.
high and low and nothing.
the mist heavy and the rain on its way. but we searched the quiet resort in all of its morning hush. he felt responsible. because he is eldest boy and he always does. it is his nature.
responsible, but also my child of optimism - all the while assuring me, "mom, we'll find it. it's gotta show up somewhere."
i love this about him. and as we scurried around the sleepy streets, i could not help but be thankful for this stolen time alone with my growing-up-son. he is tender with me when he doesn't have to pretend, telling me things he'd never tell before others. i knew it was a gift for us to have these few minutes -- just a boy and his mom. even if it is for a task such as this --- a bicycle gone missing.
we stop at the boardwalk and silently agreed, it wouldn't hurt to walk down to the ocean. one last time.
both of us knew the bike wouldn't be there. but it gave us an excuse ... a chance ... a one last look. and, oh how we both wanted that one last look.
and in our unspoken agreement we walked the weathered wood toward the ocean's soft hum.
a gray morning. silver with last night's whisper of rain. a fairytale setting this ramble back to the sea. we talked of small things --- nothing much. he and i can be quiet together and it never feels strange. we are cut from a similar cloth, this boy and me.
this boy with his mother's green-blue eyes.
of course, i carried my camera. yes, even on a bicycle hunt.
we reached the boardwalk's end and there was no bike to be seen, but plenty of seeing.
i have never experienced the ocean not beautiful. every glance different. each color new. and always, always breathtaking. i wanted nothing more than to plop down on the sugar sand and breath deeply in these final ticks of vacation.
linger a little.
but i knew back at the beach house stood a man with four antsy children, closed suitcases and a six hour drive ahead.
not to mention we did have a search to continue.
the grown up responsible part of me knew that my desire to sit awhile in the ocean mist might not sit too well with that suitcase loading, child juggling, husband of mine.
and so we turn back.
still no bike.
but other things.
silver web after web crocheted across the dune grass.
pure and delicate. beach foliage, names unknown, but shimmering in droplets. everywhere.
both sides of the walkway covered in the sparkly gems of our Creator.
i could hardly move myself along.
camera in hand, we stopped. my lens captured these bits of fairy-spun beauty.
my son is patient.
he doesn't rush me.
both soundless in our exclamations. hearts beating hard. eyes holding the fantastical images spread at our feet.
passing through one of nature's treasure troves all because of a bike forgotten.
and, the mother's pleasure to know, we felt the same way. how blessed to have a boy who can stop and see. a boy who wasn't pulling me down the boardwalk and whining for his breakfast or begging me to put away my camera. but a boy who was seeing what his mama was seeing. it doesn't happen all that often.
he may not even have known it in words and thoughts...but i was sure he knew it in his heart. i could tell by his looking. he has always been a boy who can see beauty. of course, as he continues to grow into his teenage skin, that is beginning to change some. trust me, i have heard him tsk-tsk at my stoppings and i have watched his eyes roll at my pausings.
but i am this boy's mother and i know he sees beauty. at least he did in this moment.
and then it was time. we knew we must go. there was a hunt to continue.
i snapped picture after picture. delighted. he pointed out a few items of interest and we stood side by side in our amazement at God's genius.
everything draped in iridescent swagger.
a pause of quiet before we remembered our mission.
hurrying back to the golf cart we climbed in without looking back --- there was a mislaid bicycle to be found.
and we found it.
just moments later, at a friend's beach house nearby. resting, neglected and unsuspecting. covered also in raindrops. tyler hopped on and we both traveled back victorious.
he, with found bicycle. me, with found moment. both, full with beauty. and i couldn't help but be thankful for things gone missing.
* from our spring break - april 2011 - watersound, fl
2012 -- we are trying to do better... masking tape and names on each bike this year -- so far so good -- guess who's bicycle went missing? =)