The Magic of Seven



This weekend, Bug and I went to the 52nd  Annual Sand Castle Competition at our old beach. We love the sand castle competition. We call it the Sand Castle Festival because to us, it is.

I’ve been going to it for years. There was that one year we actually entered with my whole family before Bug was born…. Even my Grandpa was there helping us dig and bring up buckets of water from the beach. Then there was that one year when I couldn’t stop crying and that was the day I decided to end my marriage. Bug didn’t know. (You guys didn’t know.)  She was so busy looking at all the castles she didn’t notice my tears. I have so many memories of the sand castles…good and bad all mixed up. It’s just been part of our lives for so long. We can’t skip it.

We were a bit late this time. We shuffled along with all the other people crowding around the entries, trying to get a good angle to take a decent photo without all the people-miscellany in the background. I don’t know why the people who build the castles always set up the messiest of camps right behind their works of art. Buckets, tables, sweatshirts, coolers, stereos…It’s just a mess.  It makes it impossible to get a great shot of the amazing castles. I wish they’d turn the contest around and then we could have the ocean in the background. That would make a whole lot more sense.  I don’t know where they’d put their camp but whatever. I’m not the king of the Sand Castle Festival. Surely they can come up with some kind of rule about beach crap.

So when I sat down today to look through my photos and put together some kind of post about the Sand Castle Festival (because, you know, it’s so important to me) I went through every single photo and discarded it until I got to these shots of Bug.

Oh Bug. Beautiful, Silly, Bug.

She can not wash her hair for a week, have zits on her face because I don’t make her wash it regularly. (Bad momming on my part. I know.)  She can make monkey faces and roll her eyes into the back of her head and still my camera adores her. I’m sorry. I know she’s my kid and it’s normal to think your kid is the most amazing thing on earth. But she brings me so much happiness from the inside and out. This wasn’t a photo shoot. We were just walking back from the beach and we sat down on a bench outside a store. The light was soft and reflected from the buildings across the street. It was the perfect lighting condition.

I should remember this spot and bring people here for professional portraits. Not that I’m saying these are professional portraits or I’m a professional photographer. Far from it. Most of these shots are blurry. But I just snapped. And snapped and snapped and snapped . (My camera, not my voice. I’m doing much better on that front!) And she didn’t mind.  She’s used to it. She’s my little ham.

I’m so thankful for my photographic kid who cracks me up. She might frustrate me to no end on other days but then we have days like this and it all works out in the end.

It all works out. I’m so thankful.



Then I thought, maybe the light is so good it will make me look good too. Heh! Not so flattering to me but then again this is what I look like. I look like my mom and I would love love love to have a picture of my mom when she was 41. She was beautiful. I might not think I look so beautiful right now but I’m sure when I’m 80 I will think so. And I know Bug thinks so. This is what her mom looks like.



  • Christine

    Beautiful. Both of you, and the work you do. That last line is so, so true. I’m trying hard to put myself in the picture more often these days for just that reason.

  • Amy

    Great post and yes, it all works out… :)

    Bug is a gorgeous mix of you and her father. I too think she is very beautiful (and I am not her mom!)

    I too need to take more shots of myself so my kids can remember I was indeed actually AT all the things we do together. Vanity be damned. Although I think you look fabulous dahhling!

  • Clownfish

    Sand Castles were the hook as I began to read. But the gears shifted so smoothly and I was enveloped in a story about a mother who adores her little girl (and I will add, a mother and daughter who are both beautiful). A story about faces being made, pictures being captured and a wonderful day at the beach spent together. I’ve seen some amazing sand castles but when it comes to the people that are in my life, sand castles just can’t compete.

    (from the beginning I’ve signed this blog as Clownfish, I hope you don’t continuing to do so – thank you for your post)

  • ioi

    I’m so glad you’re brave enough to take pictures of yourself! I too would love to have a picture of my mom when she was my age. I don’t even remember what her real hair color looked like (it was already going gray by the time I was 7)! Bug is gorgeous, and even your less flattering shots are really beautiful!

  • bethany actually

    Oh my goodness, look how teeny and covered in BRIGHT FUCHSIA Bug was in those photos from the 2010 sand castle competition. That seems like it was so long ago.

    I’m glad you guys had fun and I’m sorry we couldn’t join you! I wish we could have. And now E is better and I’m the one who’s getting sick so I should go to bed. :-P

  • mamalang

    First, I couldn’t even read the post at first, cause I couldn’t stop watching the pics of Bug. She is gorgeous, and so animated. It’s always a little weird how well I feel I know someone that I’ve only met in real life once, but I sure do adore that girl of yours.

    And that photo of you is gorgeous. I was actually contemplating writing about this same subject (pics of ourselves and how we see ourselves) but I haven’t done it yet. I need to.

  • BeachMama

    You are beautiful and Bug truly loves the camera, don’t stop snapping and make sure to get lots of you too! You need photos later in life to look back on even the ones that don’t look so great right now. I still have very few of me, but I hand the camera over as often as I can.

  • a chris

    I want to say something about those photos of Bug, but it reduces to a triviality when I try to express it. Something about the increasing awareness and the elegance of her features. Basically, “look, she’s more grown-up than I’ve ever seen her before.” Just like my own girl who gives me that same impression of poise even though she’s younger than Bug. She also is as big as she’s ever been!

    I’m amused to think that I probably had the same sense about Bug looking at the 2010 sand castle competition entry when you posted it.

    Anyway. This is why kids always have to endure relatives saying “you’ve grown!” It’ll make sense to them when they or their siblings have kids.

    And, of course, she’s beautiful.

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