George visits Lake Michigan for our first cold beach trip in 2008.

Today the Meisenheimers joined thousands of other Michiganders in a bizarre regional phenomenon. Michiganders go to the beach in June.

June weather is cold. Not warm.

But this is our sixth Michigan summer, and we have learned that Michiganders do summer right. If you only have three months when it cannot possibly probably won’t snow, you learn to soak in every moment of lukewarm weather.

Yes, today all four Meisenheimers went to the beach on a day when the air temperature and the water temperature only added up to 135. The sand was slightly warm, the water was ice cold, but we did our duty. We hoola-hooped in the surf, we built sand castles, we walked along the beach, and one of us even went under water. It was five hours of bliss. Watching our six-year-old shriek and giggle in the waves, guiding our two-year-old to explore the beach for the first time*, laughing with my husband as we tried to hoop in the water, listening to Lake Michigan and to all the people having fun—this cold beach day is a regional quirk that I am happy to enjoy.

I’m thankful.

But I’m not thankful for the sunshine, the lake, the sand toys, the flip flops, the salty snacks, the breeze, the sunglasses, the water, the park, or our rockstar parking place.

I’m thankful that whether the perfect Saturday comes together or not,

these three people that walk around me and sit in my car and eat my food,

these three beautifully different voices that drive me bonkers on any given day,

these three pieces of my heart,

are my family.

And whether we became a family because we happened to be at the top of a waiting list, or whether we found each other because God hand-picked us to be together, it doesn’t matter. The miraculous thing is not whether God made it sunny today just for us or whether we got a great parking spot or whether we have the perfect day at the beach or whether we were carefully selected to be a forever family. The miraculous thing is that we all love each other. Four people from all over the world in one family and we find love every day.

I am thankful for that.



*Mabel had been to the beach during the first month of her life here in the U.S., but she never left her towel. Last year, she was afraid of sand and water.