Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My Beach Days Have Changed Forever

Good morning!  
Another beautiful day is unfolding in front of me.  The skies are the color of my sea-blue fleece with clouds that look like the pillow I wish I had.  Liam is dressed and riding his tricycle on the deck.  Owen, only wearing his boxers, and Anna in her "princess" pajamas are playing house with a giraffe blanket, stuffed lion and baby lamb in the kitchen.  Gavin is zooming his blue boat all over the dining room table.  (I probably should stop him, but our table already has track marks, so what's a few more - besides, I'm enjoying the solitude).

Low Tide Waves
A wonderful thing happened on Sunday, Gavin learned to boogie board.  As my husband was running to Bay Head (5+ miles), I drove and decided to take the kids to the beach while we waited for him.  In the past, Anna would jump waves and Liam would join her after awhile.  Gavin would chase the waves with Owen either following him or Owen would bury his legs in the sand the way his Aunt Michelle taught him.  

During the preceding trip to the beach, Gavin tried to body surf - incorrectly after the waves break.  It was fun to see him becoming comfortable with the ocean.  After all, I body surfed when I was pregnant with him, until I scraped up my belly and my doctor told me to stop.

However, a trip to our local Shop Rite has changed my beach days forever.  Gavin was with me and he saw a boogie board.  Just like the ones his older cousins have.  Shockingly, on his first try he said, "Mama, may I please have a boogie board."  Shocked that he didn't demand, whine or cry.  I bought him the $7.99 board.  

On Sunday, Gavin carried his boogie board to the beach, while I herded Anna, Liam and Owen across the street and  to the beach.  Before I could even take off my cover-up, Gavin was in (IN) the ocean.  For three hours, Gavin rode waves, bobbed up and down over waves and even got pummeled by a few.  I saw was my little water-loving baby growing up right before my eyes.  Gavin is only 4 (his birthday is September 22).   His fearlessness (yikes) coupled with his determination to master activities played out right before my proud eyes.
Boy Boogie Boarding (not Gavin)

After being tossed feet over head by a unexpected big wave (it was low tide), I rushed to Gavin.  "Are you ok?" I asked him and feared that he'd look up at me with tears trickling down his face.
"That was great!" he beamed and scanned the beach.  "Where's my board?  My board."
I walked into the water and retrieved his board.  "Here it is," and he snatched his board from me.
"Thanks," he said already racing into the water.

Is This My Future Little Boy?

 I know that I'm not alone in feeling proud and happy when our children grow up and conquer new activities, while at the same time feeling sad and overwhelmed.  I no longer feel comfortable taking the children to the beach by myself.  Owen tries to do whatever Gavin does.  Without a boogie board, Owen attempted to run into the ocean, only to be knocked down by the waves and wait for my rescue.  Anna and Liam have a good amount of respect or fear of the ocean and stay safely in the receding wake.  However, they both have a tendency to slowly meander away from me.

As with the case with all children, as they grow out of one phase where you'd fear for certain calamities they enter a new one.  Now that Gavin has been swimming for two years and can swim the length of  an Olympic-sized pool, I no longer worry about him drowning in a pool (don't worry, I still watch him like a hawk).  However, now I have to fear that his pint-sized body will be washed away at sea and that terrifies me.

I wish everyone a wonderful summer full of new and old adventures,

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