Finally, a sickness-free Saturday dawned. Eleanor was all better. My stomach was still tender, but the throwing up seemed (fingers crossed!) to be done.
We awoke to torrential rain. As I think I mentioned, we were in Costa Rica for the end of the rainy season. So it rained at some point on most days. But this, the day of the wedding, it rained a LOT. It rained first thing in the morning, and it poured again later in the day, leading up to the planned sunset beach ceremony.
But in between, we finally made it to the beach. The beach was only a few minutes' walk from our house; at times we could hear it as a faint roar when sitting on the back porch. However, with all the sickness Eleanor and I had barely been there for more then a few minutes since we arrived.
Once the sun broke through we, decided today was our day. And a mere half-hour later, after getting everyone into bathing suits, lathered in sunscreen, and all beach towels, hats, water, snacks, etc. packed, we were on our way.
In our earlier, brief jaunts to the beach, Eleanor had liked the idea of the ocean, but didn't want to get too involved. She made the excited face and pointed as we approached, but cried if we tried to wade in at all and held onto my neck with a death grip. I did set her down in the wet sand for a bit, and she spent the entire time holding onto my finger with one hand, and using the other hand to try and brush sand off her feet. She'd pick up one foot and brush futilely at the wet, gloppy sand. Then she would put that foot down, and try to clean the other one. Repeat.
However, on this day we did manage to convince her that playing in the sand was enjoyable, rather than something to be dreaded. Eleanor and I sat on a beach mat while Grandpa Jim piled sand in front of her. First we buried my legs, and then Eleanor started knocking down Jim's sand pile. As Eleanor got sand between her toes, on her legs, in her bathing suit, and under her fingernails, her delight grew.
"Ha-ha!" she laughed with glee as she knocked down another of Jim's sand piles. We buried her legs and she helped uncover them. We didn't manage to change her mind about the ocean, but it was time to head back to the house and get cleaned up for the ceremony.
While we were back at the house, and driving to the ceremony at a nearby hotel, it was still pouring down rain. Everyone anxiously watched the rain as the appointed hour grew near. About a half-hour before the ceremony was to start, the skies suddenly cleared for a beautiful sunset wedding.
Eleanor was supposed to be a flower girl, but that wasn't happening. I tried to set her down at the end of the aisle and the closer my arms got to the ground, the further up her legs curled so there was no way she was going to voluntarily stand and walk. I gave up and we went to our seats.
Once we were at our seats, Eleanor was perfectly willing to stand on her own. I set her down in front of me. She looked down and then looked up at me with big eyes. There was more SAND down there!!!
She spent the entire ceremony digging in the sand, getting it all over her wedding dress and eventually on me, once I picked her up. But she was happy and quiet, and let the rest of us enjoy the ceremony. So I was glad that we had made it to the beach earlier in the day and turned her into a sand-o-phile.