I used to hate the beach.
There, I’ve said it. As a child of Southern California, who literally grew up looking at the beach, I never went there. I never learned to surf. I would set foot in the water only to whip it out in distaste as a huge piece of kelp drifted by. And there was just so much… sand.
I was also never a big fan of being out in the sun… with relatively fair skin and (cough cough) red hair, the sun was my arch enemy, burning me to a crisp in seconds and turning my hair a gorgeous shade of Bozo-the-Clown orange. It just wasn’t for me, much to the dismay of my Norcal surfer husband. He just didn’t understand how I couldn’t just love the beach.
Now don’t get me wrong… I love the ocean. I love listening to it, the smell of it, the weather in Southern California when you live right by it… I love everything about the ocean, except actually being in it. Because you know, kelp, and JAWS. So I would sit on my parent’s deck, overlooking the beautiful beach and watch the sun as it dropped, flaming red into an ever-darkening sea. But I didn’t have the faintest desire to get in.
This past trip I took the kids to the beach with my in-laws. It was messy. Our sandwiches were crunchy and the Peanut’s diaper was stuffed with sand. I got FRIED even after applying sunscreen AND sitting under an umbrella.
And I loved every.single.minute.
We played in the crystal clear water ,which at 73 degrees was heaven in the hot sun. My brother in law and nephew taught the Big Kid how to boogie board and at once he was hooked, drawn to the waves. Even the Peanut got in on the action, running for the water anytime someone put her down, undeterred by the sandy sandwich in her hand, or the fact that no one was with her. It was magnetic, even for this girl.
There’s just something about it now that my kids are old enough. There was something so fun and freeing about running through the water with the Big Kid, or watching the Peanut dig holes in the sand. And days later, the Big Kid and I suited up in rash guards, bought boogie boards and spent hours every day, catching waves, big and small. At one point a man on the beach pointed out that I seemed to be having more fun than my kid.
It was true.
I felt the pull of the ocean, the fun of riding those waves and of connecting with my son over something that we both really enjoyed. I saw our future as a family in those days. Trips to the beach, playing in the waves, little blond heads bent over sand castles. I see us there and it’s a good thing.
So for now, I can officially say.
I Love the Beach.