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.