I would never want to live more than 5 minutes from a beach. It is all I have ever known growing up here and now growing my own family here. There is just something about living in a place where the air is salty and the breeze is constant. Sometimes it takes my breath away when I walk up over the boardwalk and have the first glimpse of the waves rolling into the shore.
I squint because the sun reflects off of the water, my favorite time of the day at the beach is the early morning or early evening. Both times of day, the beach is relatively empty and waiting for discovery. I feel the breeze rushing through my hair, I breath in the salt, I sink into the sand. I feel my shoulders relax, my face soften.
Our playground. The girls run and jump. They spread their arms as wings and pretend to fly. I believe they could take flight. They search for shells with natural holes to make a necklace. The others, well, they are treasure.
"Here, mama, can you hold these? I don't want to lose them because they are so special."
They skip down to the water's edge to tip toe into the waves, like they are sneaking up on a friend playing hide and seek. The waves rolls in to catch them, they scream in delight and run run run away, "Don't let the water get your toes, toes, toes."
They build elaborate stories around even more elaborate sand creations. Their cheeks are pink, they smell of sunscreen, my favorite. The warmth of the sun on my skin, the warmth of the joy in my soul. We dig and we bury. They are mermaids with tails made of sand, scales from seashells, seaweed hair. Their smiles are wide and my cup, it runs over.
We pack up to leave, we thank the beach for a beautiful day. Tired and sandy, happy and content we go home, but never far from that magical place. It holds so much for me and though it is long and open to anyone and everyone, it is mine and holds my thoughts and secrets. My stress and my elation.
It has been a stressful week but at the same time a week in which I had to consciously calm myself and take it in before our family changes. Change.