Not the queasy stomachs on the tunnel-bridge through Norfolk.
Not the sleet storm upon our arrival at our ocean-front hotel.
Not the lack of running water upon waking up our first morning in our suite.
Not the icy wind and black clouds that thwarted our first attempt at playing in the sand and surf.
I’m recounting only the fun things here. Such as …
The Virginia Aquarium, where my kindergartner watched the awesome 3-D “Sea Rex” Imax flick, featuring imagined underwater battles between ferocious prehistoric sea beasts that he could not stop verbally recounting for the rest of the trip.
The Navy Exchange at NAS Oceana: Having lived near mostly Army and Air Force installations for almost two years now, I didn’t realize how much I’d missed a real bona fide Navy base, for purely sentimental reasons.
Oceana offered a perfect reunion with frequent F-18 flyovers, dilapidated-yet-still-inhabited stucco buildings, woven plastic floor mats at all entryways, the Panda Express and enough interesting shiny medals and ribbons at the uniform shop to keep three small children busy while their papa shopped for dinner-dress accessories for our upcoming dining out. (Next time we’ll visit the horse stables.)
The beach. When we at last woke to sunshine sparkling off the rippled Atlantic ocean on our last day in town, we tossed aside our shoes, rolled up our jeans and spent as much time at the water’s edge as our freezing toes could handle.
The wind was biting but the sky was brilliant. There’s something about the beach — even on the frigid heels of one last winter storm — that inspires a special kind of frolicking and playfulness that can’t be had inland.
Danielle Gamiz is a contributing writer for MilitaryOneClick. Following more than a decade of covering local issues for a variety of daily newspapers, Danielle shifted her reporting career from the newsroom to the family room, where she currently blogs about her life as a mom and Navy wife.
Danielle lives in northern Virginia with her husband, Nick, and their three small children. You can find her at (http://oursugarandsnails.blogspot.com).