In the blink of an eye

So when all the urchins were younger we used to bring our friend Katey along for our family beach week. Just twelve years old when she started coming to the beach with us, Katey was a gift from God because she (and later her sister Betsey, too) was just so great with our kids. She played with them non-stop, and didn't care what the game was: chasing each other on the beach games, or princess-y "let's paint our toenails" games, or rollicking games that involved swords or bows and arrows -- she was up for anything. Sometimes they combined the princesses and the swords to play a kind of "knights storm the castle to rescue the princesses who are painting their toenails while in captivity" game. That was a good one. Here's Katey with the girl in charge -- who adored Katey, and was quite willing to let Katey be in charge of everything.

See, Katey was young enough that she still had fun playing with seven (at the time) kids, but the real beauty was that she was also old enough (and even more important, mature enough) to keep them safe, and to distract them with another fun game when tempers flared, or read a pile of stories to them when nap time loomed. And she never, ever implied that she knew we were using her as slave labor while we lounged in our chairs and read books all day. A gift, I'm telling you, from God. Here the girl in charge and Katey join the (future) soldier at Funland -- the swingin' amusement park at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. All our best beach memories have Katey and Betsey in them.

So you can imagine, I am sure, how fabulous but mind-blowing it was that Katey and her husband and daughters were able to spend some time with us at the beach this year. This picture of my sister with Katey and her baby was a joy to take, but I swear as I looked at the image on the screen of my camera I felt dizzy at the speed of the earth turning so many times on its axis -- in the blink of an eye.