We're vacationing on The Crystal Coast this week, North Carolina's Southern Outer Banks. It's glorious here—the beaches are beaches at their best, untouched and uncrowded. The water's amazingly warm. We're staying in an Emerald Isle Realty rental house with this view from the back deck:
Max has loved jumping into waves and just sitting on the deck and staring out at the ocean. But there's another view he can't take his eyes off of: that of every single fire house we've passed. We've been doing the fire station tour of the area; three down, at least several more to go. Above, the Indian Beach fire department.
|Atlantic Beach Fire Department|
|Emerald Isle Fire Department|
Now, everyone has their idea of what a good vacation means. Happily, all four of us love exploring new places. We enjoy staying in hotels and vacation houses. We like hitting new restaurants. Well, mostly; sometimes Max still gets jittery but he's much braver than he used to be. Last night, the kids tried tapas for the first time at Circa 81 in Morehead City. We discovered that Max has a thing for brie, sweet potato quesadillas and chocolate chip cheesecake, and that all of us can eat alarmingly large quantities of small dishes.
For Sabrina, vacation is playing football or doing cartwheels on the beach. For me, vacation is sleeping late. For Dave, it's a lack of schedules. For Max, vacation means a chance to explore fire stations, and make sure the local firefighters are aware that he plans to be a firefighter when he grows up.
I could bemoan the fact that I (Fireman Max's escort of choice) have to drive to firehouses and trek through them while Dave and Sabrina frolick on the beach. Or I could roll with it. I've done both! Although I'm getting used to the daily fire station trips. Sort of a parallel to parenting a kid with special needs, right?
The joy on Max's face when he bounds into the fire stations is a trip right there. It's so cool watching him interact with them, trying his best to articulate "I want to be a fireman when I grow up" and saying "WOW!" when gear impresses him. I get to chat with some nice guys about the area and places to visit as Max checks out the trucks, sits inside them and makes new friends.
Once, thrill of all thrills, an alarm went off while he was upstairs checking out some living quarters, and Max shouted "LET'S GO! FIRE!" and made a mad dash down the steps, leading the charge.
This is his idea of a good time. And now, mine, too.
Tomorrow morning, though, this firefighter's doing beach patrol.