Despite the fact that we live in a beach town, we rarely make it to the actual beach. It’s always so hot and crowded and there is so much sand and the water is COLD. I grew up six blocks from the beach and we went all the time, summers stamped with bogie boards and sweat. I was beginning to think I was just beached out, totally lacking the desire to make an ocean side pilgrimage.

But today. Ah, yes. Today we all trooped over to dog beach and I saw the grandness of the Pacific through Lily’s sweet eyes. She chased the waves, laughing with delight after I showed her how to call them: “Come ‘ere, water! Come on!” patting our legs like we were bringing the dog in for supper. She’d jump up and down and clap “YAY” when a wave came as bided and do a little happy dance before calling it again. We showed her how to form shapes in the sand with toys, a trick she found delightful and surprising every single time the moist sand would hold together, perfectly forming an octopus or hippo. She dipped her toes in the water and fell face first in a wave, disoriented by the rush of water around her ankles, her balance and gravity working against her to bring her to tears, but only for a moment. She was so enchanted with the ocean that she couldn’t admit she had to pee and just stood there at odd angles before finally just allowing herself to pee in the sand while we laughed at her repeated insistence that she did NOT have to go! In a burst of confidence she rushed out into the receding water to her daddy, flinging her arms around him, lifted hands to hands and dangling endlessly when the next wave rushed in; feet tucked effortlessly as she peered down at moving water in awe. A freaking target dog attacked her twice, knocking her to the ground with flailing paws, desperate to kiss her. She cried and shuddered while we searched her for scratches or bites… and then, tired of our coddling, she ran back to the ocean to play. I stood with a sleeping babe at my breast, watching the little girl who was only yesterday this tiny and felt myself flush with pride of her resolve, her independence, her pure joy at something I had written off after so many years. It was as though my eyelids were wiped clean and the beach held a whole new brightness and magic. I just wish we hadn’t waiting until the end of summer to make a visit.

Click the photo below to see our brave explorer in action.

clinging to Daddy