Despite Nick’s protests, I decided to meet the surf camp Thursday night. His blood sugar, although continuing in a stable range, has been increasingly erratic in that range. New insulin? Another change in dosage? The inconsistencies inherent in summer routine? Not sure, but Bobby and I both figured it couldn’t hurt to have me there overnight.

When I was a kid, I would’ve freaked for real if my mom showed up when I was hanging out with friends. Nick, however, hollered, “Mom!” and waved at me from the water as I stood on South Beach trying to sort out the mess of kids in the ocean. So much for his protests! Kaylee was, as she often is, matter-of-fact about the whole thing. I’d taken off after KSLG, grabbed some groceries at the Grocery Outlet (a place I love, although this time the cashier forgot to hand me the $20 cash back and I forgot to notice until I was already home, and a phone call to the manager proved fruitless so I’m out the funds, dammit), dropped Chelsea in town and hit the road to the tune of A Gun That Shoots Knives’ Miracle. After that CD – which is chock full of catchy, clever, naughty and funny songs – finished, I switched to Elvis Perkins’ Ash Wednesday, which, I decided, might just be the perfect soundtrack for a solo, reflective drive on the North Coast.

Once there, I joined the kids for a surf. The waves were what one would expect at South Beach: waist-to-head high and full of close-outs, but inevitably more fun that it looked. Most fun of all, watching Nick take off on waves overhead to him. He made late drops. He carved. He paddled hard. Apparently surfing with his friends has pushed him harder than surfing with his mother. Go figure. Kaylee, as usual, steadily caught wave after wave without making a big production out of it. She had her serious face on.
In addition to the surfers, swimmers and boogie-boarders dotted the ocean, taking advantage of the day’s warmth. South Beach is the closest thing to a SoCal beach around. People in shorties, trunks, bikinis – you rarely see that at any other beach in Humboldt/Del Norte.

The kids and counselors took off for Los Compadres for dinner (“I could eat eight burritos!”), but I stayed and surfed almost until the sun went down.

Eventually we all ended up at Mill Creek for a campfire and the requisite s’mores. The kids, anxious to dawn patrol, settled down more quickly than anticipated. I didn’t see much point in setting up a tent at 10:30 p.m., especially since I had to be back on the road at 7:30 the next morning. After considering sleeping in the car, I ditched that idea as too uncomfortable and just plain wrong, given the beauty of the redwoods, the stillness of the night, the canopy of stars and shining half-moon glimmering through the branches. The kids slept sprawled out on a thirty foot tarp; I decided to toss down a pad and my sleeping bag between some trees and hope for the best. (I did pop an Aleve and apply Icy Hot to my aching back in anticipation of the pain sleeping on the ground might cause.)

I didn’t exactly sleep well – I normally sleep on my side, which made my hips hurt against the ground – but the loveliness of the night, the distance between me and my normally attendant responsibilities, invoked a greater state of relaxation than I’ve felt in a long, long while. I hope I can hold on to that.

Attempted to dawn patrol with some willing kids (Nick and three of his friends who rode in my car – whew, do boys get stinky!), but we ended up with too much fog and not enough time, so I dropped them back at the camp and hit the road with Elvis P. once again.