The constant rhythm of the ocean calms me. Regardless of the emotions stored up in my heart. Other people are walking and biking and digging and building and reading and burning and sleeping. And I am just sitting and breathing and forgetting and remembering. I can block out those other people, thanks for the ocean's rhythm that comes and goes against the sandy shore with certainty.
My kids are little. But I'm glad they got to [and likely will again ...] experience one of my favorite places. It's different being a mom at the beach. When I was growing up, I'd read and think and walk and nap and rest and read some more while I sat for hours on the beach. Now I don't sit as long, am usually fetching something for someone, can't make it through a whole page because I have to make sure my son isn't eating sand, and answer 3-year-old questions that usually being with "What's that?"
But I wouldn't trade it. Because I want them to enjoy the beach and being to store up fond memories of going places as a family. My family vacationed often in Perdido Key, Florida, when I was growing up. I went on trips to Panama City Beach, Tampa and Naples with friends throughout the years. A hurricane pushed us from our familiar Gulf Coast and to Hilton Head Island in 2005, and I immediately felt at home among that sand and sea.
Now, my kids are learning about the beach.
I love watching Cate experience new things and then listening to her talk about them! She went to the beach for the first [and only other time] when she was 13 months old and not quite walking, so going last week was pretty much a new experience for my 3-year-old girl.
Despite its saltiness and vastness, Cate kept calling the ocean a "lake." She liked walking back and forth from the water to the dry sand, carrying her watering can or pail. [Well, in the case of the pictures below, she's filling a water gun!] She went out farther a few times, but she definitely was more comfortable at the pool in the backyard of the house we rented. In fact, the house was familiar for us adults and my 6-year-old niece because we stayed in the same place two years ago.
Ben, of course, wanted to eat the sand and drink the salt water. Although he did master sitting up independently for long periods of time while we were gone, he didn't spend that much time at the beach because he couldn't keep the sand off his hands or his hands out of his mouth. One morning, I was sitting on the shoreline with him, listening to him giggle as the waves broke on his feet. Then he'd reach down and grab a handful of the wet sand and bring it straight to his mouth. I thought if I let him taste it once, maybe he wouldn't want it near his mouth anymore. Yeah, that didn't work. He did float around the pool like a pro, like the water baby he is!
So, because I am a momma now, I did manage to read more of my books* while the kids played in the pool.
* While on vacation, I read "The Prince of Frogtown" by Rick Bragg, "The Spire" by Richard North Patterson, and "Caught" by Harlan Coben. I started "Whiplash" by Catherine Coulter on the way home.