I anticipate that my husband's first question when I get home from summer's last hurrah with the girls will be, "What did y'all talk about?"
It's always his first question, asked hesitantly, but eagerly. Like a kid flicking a loose tooth in and out of the tender, fleshy gap, he finds pleasure in the pain.
Thinking back to the warmth of sand under my toes and the sound of waves slipping away from themselves, I picture the four of us with our chairs in a semicircle. I concentrate, trying to remember exactly what we discussed in our nearly nonstop conversation that began in the morning and lasted into the night. It would be easier to tell what we left out.
We talked about the summer-way-of-life and how we don't want it to end. We vented emotions associated with dreaded school supply lists and early morning alarms. We shared thoughts about the stacks of graph paper we bought last year that the kids never used and the drudgery of enforced bedtimes.
A woman in a leopard-print bikini took an unladylike stance to dig in the sand and unknowingly thrust herself under our scrutiny. We wondered to each other why we spend so much time in dressing rooms worrying about how we look in bathing suits when no one else does.
We dared each other to kick over the sand castles two kids built at the edge of our beach claim. Various shark week episodes came up, leading to discourse about urine and other shark attractants and exactly which oceangoer bobbing on the horizon was likely a goner.
Someone mentioned how much easier parenting must have been when the worst thing moms had to worry about were the Eddie Haskells of the world. Then we all pined for simpler times, not really understanding what we wished for or how much extra effort it takes to clean house wearing high heels and pencil skirts like June Cleaver.
Then another of us brought up school holidays, and everyone clamored about marking them on our calendars. I was relieved to find out that I'm not the only mother who lives for every break, even if it's only a day.
After that, the conversation spiraled into jawing about people who drive in the left lane, people who count out change in the grocery store checkout, people who shuffle their feet, people who leave the milk out, people who pick their nails, people who can't park, people who obstruct the view, people who choke on gnats, people who post too much information on Facebook, people who wear indoor shoes outside and people whose bathing suits got eaten by their backsides.
Which reminded us of Walmart and crack. We debated that combo for a while. Eventually we came back to close talkers, side talkers and people who need therapy but talk to me instead. We also dissected people who are always moving but never get anything accomplished and skinny people who whine about how fat they are. We conferred on overly happy people and those who buy subscriptions to Southern Living.
Unable to bear more, my husband lets out a deep sigh. The amount of ground four women can cover in one weekend when compressed by summer on one side and the start of school on the other overwhelms a mortal man.
"What?" I ask.
"I only wanted to know if you talked about me," he says.
This week's column is a collaboration between Lucy Adams and guest authors Laura, Gina and Jennifer. All four live in Thomson but enjoy vacationing in style on a budget. Send kind comments to Lucy at firstname.lastname@example.org.