By the Sea

July 18, 2006    By: Kristen J @ 12:06 am   Category: Life

Last Saturday Geoff and I took our family to the ocean to do some swimming and surfing. It was a beautiful day, a little on the hot side, and very crowded on the sand and in the water.

As soon as we set our towels on the ground the uncles, dads, and older children head off to the surfing area of the beach while the younger kids run to the water in front of us to jump and tumble over the waves.

I find myself sitting next to my sister-in-law on a towel and we proceeded to watch the babies eat and throw sand for the next half hour. It’s truly amazing how much sand one little two year old body can attract in such a short amount of time.

After a little while I decided to introduce my little daughter once again to the wonders of the ocean. I was hoping that she would be a little friendlier to the salty water this year. It turned out to be a vain hope. Whenever I’d lower her toward the water she would begin to shriek and scrunch her legs up as close to her body as she could. Oh well, maybe next year I think as I bring her back to the safety of the towel where she continues to grind fistfuls of sand into her scalp and occasionally throw a handful in my direction.

The whole time I was sitting on the towel I was wishing that I could strip down to my bathing suit because it was pretty hot, but I felt too self-conscious and so I sat fully clothed in the heat for longer than I should have. While I’ll confess that I’ve got a few dimples in places that it’s not cute to have dimples, I look pretty good considering the fact that I’ve had four kids in the past 9 years. Surely the 250 pound bikini-clad teenage girl frolicking in the frothy waves will attract the attention of everyone around me anyway.

Eventually I decide that my little sand baby has had plenty of time to taste-test Moonlight Beach and that my other children need my attention. I grab my camera and start snapping pictures of my younger kids jumping the waves and splashing each other. Then I move to the surfing area where I get some great shots of dad, uncles, and daughters riding the waves. I love trying to get just the right shot.

My sister-in-law Jamie comes in from surfing and says to me, “Hey, why don’t you take a turn on the board?” Now the idea of surfing has always seemed so glamorous and growing up I had a daydream or two about riding a surfboard, but there was no way I was getting on a surfboard right there in front of my brothers-in-law.

As I look over at her I see a challenge in her eyes but I mumble something lame like, “The water’s too cold.”

“It’s only cold for about 10 seconds and then it’s fine,” she replies. “Go, you’ll have a great time.”

Still looking at her I see that she is younger and skinnier than me and she really knows how to enjoy life and it makes me feel kind of old. But the young girl in me pushes her way to the front of my consciousness and throws down the gauntlet along with my sister-in-law and says to me, “If you don’t get on that board than you might as well drive straight to Wal-mart and buy yourself some denim jumpers with white t-shirts and hey, when you’re really feeling crazy and fun you can start wearing holiday themed cardigans!”

That’s it, the image of the denim jumpers has me racing for the board and running to the water like I’m Pamela Anderson off to rescue some poor drowning soul out past the break (yeah right).

Guess what? It was a blast and I wasn’t half-bad, at least in my own mind. I’m sure the teenage boys next to me thought I was quite a sight as I flopped down on the board waiting for the next little wave to take me away. I didn’t care they were learning too and I caught more waves than they did anyway.

The best thing about Saturday at the beach was leaving feeling like I learned a little more about myself by stepping out of my comfort zone and having fun in the process and I think my family was a little proud of me too.

15 Comments »

  1. K, nice. I tried surfing once and it was one of the most difficult things I’ve attempted (and failed) to do. Not only do you have to swim out there (and I’m not a particularly strong swimmer), somehow turn around, somehow spot the right wave, somehow swim with the wave fast enough to catch it, then somehow stand up on the board, all of this while fifty other waves are smashing against you. Then I got major water-in-the-ear. But I’d still like to try it again.

    Comment by Rusty — July 18, 2006 @ 6:57 am

  2. That’s so awesome. Good job!

    I’m a horrible swimmer and I hate sand in my bathing suit, which is one reason I never get in the ocean.

    Comment by Susan M — July 18, 2006 @ 7:00 am

  3. Well let me be honest Rusty, I never stood up on the board. The best I did was get on my knees and the waves I did catch were small but I was still impressed with myself.

    Come one Susan a little sand in the suit never hurt anyone!

    Comment by Kristen J — July 18, 2006 @ 7:32 am

  4. But drowning does.

    Comment by Susan M — July 18, 2006 @ 8:10 am

  5. Some water wings might help you in that area. I know they have Spongebob water wings because I bought some not too long ago.

    Actually I was kind of worried about some of my kids during their ocean swimming. They’re great swimmers in the pool but ocean swimming is a whole different animal. There’s no side to swim to when you get tired! I realized after a while that they would have to go out pretty far to be in over their heads though.

    Comment by Kristen J — July 18, 2006 @ 11:41 am

  6. Actually I might go out with a boogie board sometime. After I lose all this weight, of course.

    Comment by Susan M — July 18, 2006 @ 11:44 am

  7. Surfing is a blast. However, I am a body surfer. I love catching a wave and letting the ocean prople you along. I never had to worry about standing up and balancing ‘toes to the nose’. I love it. Haven’t been in a few years, but there is just something about connecting with the water and salt and sand that is more therapeutic than anything else in the world.

    I’m glad you gave it a try. Surfing, whether board or body, will keep you in shape forever.

    Comment by chronicler — July 19, 2006 @ 6:31 am

  8. You’re not kidding! I wasn’t out there for very long and 4 days later my triceps are still sore.

    Comment by Kristen J — July 19, 2006 @ 7:03 am

  9. I knew you’d have fun! Guess you’ll have to come back soon and do it again!!

    Comment by Jamie J — July 19, 2006 @ 2:22 pm

  10. It was a blast. Geoff really wants to get back before summer is over but I’m having a hard time seeing when we’ll fit that in.

    Comment by Kristen J — July 19, 2006 @ 4:43 pm

  11. Maybe that next fifth Sunday!

    Comment by chronicler — July 21, 2006 @ 7:36 pm

  12. I’m thinking that’s a good idea.

    Actually I might leave right now seeing that it got up to 118 degrees here today.

    Comment by Kristen J — July 21, 2006 @ 10:56 pm

  13. Way to go, Kristen! I like this story for so many reasons. Ignoring self-consciousness, seizing the moment, and the fact that with a little effort we moms don’t have to just sit on the beach all day if we don’t want to.

    Comment by JKS — July 27, 2006 @ 7:09 pm

  14. Kristen, I am so impressed that you could push past the “responsible mom” duty to have a little fun. I too have been faced with the challenge of wearing a swimsuit in the presence of my skinny friends. It is hard struggle to be consious of our bodies and push past being uncomforatable for the sake of having fun.

    You are an amazing writer! I love to read your blogs you really articulate all of our struggles. Is there a book coming out soon?

    Comment by Heather L — August 2, 2006 @ 9:00 pm

  15. Thank you so much Heather. You are way too kind and I appreciate the compliments.

    Comment by Kristen J — August 3, 2006 @ 7:36 am

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