Monday / April 09 / 2012
Growing up Racette: splashy-splashy
Growing up Racette was, well… magical on many levels. There were boundaries and consequences, yes, but all sprinkled with a dash of, “I dare you!”
As part of my blogging experience, I will occasionally share “Growing up Racette” moments with the hopes of sowing dream seeds into your soul.
Many of you have known me since the day I entered this world. I was unflinching. Happy. Loud. I truly believed I could reach the moon if I enlisted the help of my friends and together, we stretched and pulled with everything we had. I wanted to experience… everything. There was no danger, only adventure. There was no sorrow, only wonder.
I’m still that way.
My parents instilled it in me. They edified, believed, backed, and encouraged. I have them to thank for being unabashedly me.
Daddy, typically the one dreaming-up the magic and Momma, thoughtfully bringing balance so even the wildest of notions could be brought to fruition. They poured themselves into parenthood, snipping, clipping, and weaving the various yarns used to craft the unique fabrics that became me, my big brother Mark, and my baby sister Debbie.
How splendidly different each of our life quilts look.
My father the early riser, my mother the night-owl, I cannot recall it ever being cold in the Racette house. Even when outside temps were below zero, our home was filled with the welcoming warmth of a new day — which until about age four, I swore my Daddy created by pushing the sun up and magically filling the house with the smell of freshly brewed coffee. Even though I wouldn’t become a coffee-drinker til my late 30s, I have always relished the aroma.
Without fail, Daddy made mornings come to life with his contagious smile and soul-embracing hug. These were our special Daddy-Daughter moments before anyone else in the house awoke. And on vacation, it was even better. Especially in Virginia Beach.
There was no warm-up time for me in the morning. If I was up, I was on. As soon as my eyes opened and I realized Daddy was awake, I’d scurry to the small balcony of the Thunderbird Motel and crawl into his lap. I gave no care to whether or not I wrinkled his newspaper or knocked into the coffee he was sipping. It wouldn’t be until I became an adult I would realize the preciousness of those moments — that he cared more about cuddling his baby girl than the news of the day or his caffeine fix.
Daddy knew it wasn’t vacation for me unless I could eat my cereal right out of the individually packaged cardboard box. He’d pour milk over my day’s selection of Frosted Flakes or Cocoa Krispies (or Corn Flakes if it was toward the end of vacation and selection had dwindled) and we’d watch the sun’s metamorphosis from deep reds and oranges to yellows so bright you could no longer look directly at it.
To this day, I prefer to eat cereal with a plastic spoon.
Tip toeing through the hotel room like Warner Brothers’ cartoon characters, we’d get dressed in whatever we’d flung on the floor the night prior — deliberately choosing bathing suits as our underwear — and hop on our bikes to go watch the fishing boats take flight.
It was tradition.
Peddling back to the hotel was something I took very seriously. One, I wanted to make an impression by keeping up with my six-foot-five father as he made his bike move so easily and two, I knew I could talk him into playing in the ocean waves.
“What do you want to do next?,” he’d inquire as if he didn’t know.
“Splashy-splashy!!,” I’d shriek.
Ditching our bikes at the hotel, we’d skip down to the quiet beach. First in the waves, I’d giggle as Daddy pretended the water was too cold for him (hmmm… perhaps it really was.) He’d bend over in the knee-deep saltiness and brush water along his arms declaring, “I’m just getting used to it.”
“Splashy-splashy!!,” I’d squeal until he succumbed to my teasing and splashed water on his belly. Then, without any additional warning, in he would dive and there we would play until we saw Momma and Mark emerge, sleepy-eyed, onto the balcony above.
I’m not sure when exactly “splashy-splashy” came to be or how many times we played it. But I do know it’s implanted in my heart as a cherished forever memory.