Beach Day

Today, I had the best day with my kid.

We went to a beach I’d never visited before. When we arrived at 9:15 am, I was pleasantly surprised to find only two other parties as far as the eye could see. It felt as if we had the place to ourselves. It was sunny and hot. Supposedly the day’s high would go up to 97 degrees, but by the ocean, it felt perfectly comfortable.

As I placed our belongings on the sand and got my bearings, my kid ran to the shoreline. He lost his balance in the retreating tide and fell flat on his butt in his everyday clothes. It was a cute, comical sight.

I changed him into beach clothes, and then we dug into the sand with his little plastic shovels and made shapes with his molds. We walked up and down the shoreline and counted jellyfish. He chased seagulls and shouted, “Hey, come back!” when they flew away. We floated his toy boat into the sea and clapped as the tide pushed it back into his hands. He tried to sit in the water several times, but jumped to his feet and ran away as soon as the cold swept in. He found two flawless seashells with the same nonchalant luck behind a four-leaf clover a couple weeks ago. Every so often, he would grin or giggle at nothing but the wonder of being at the beach. My heart swelled with love for this sunny, inquisitive, sweet, adorable little toddler who was all mine. And like this, two hours flew by.

There was a small amusement park next to the beach. He’d noticed and marveled at the “big playground” during the drive, so he was excited when I suggested heading over there to take a look. He expressed interest in a ride that featured a dozen green and yellow cars going around in a circle. I paid a dollar and took hilarious photos and videos of him looking bored and disdainful on the ride. Next, he pointed at the purple “train tracks” of a roller coaster. We sat together; I whooped and laughed while he sat in bewildered silence. When it was over, he exclaimed, “Fun train tracks!” It was so cute that the park attendant chuckled, too.

We went home and ate lunch. After reading some books together, he played quietly with his miniature cars until he fell asleep right there in the living room.

Today, I had the day off from work. My original plan was to send my kid to daycare and have time to myself at home, maybe make up some work I’d meant to complete last week. Then I thought about how my husband and I had dragged him to hang out with our friends every day of the long weekend. We hadn’t had much time for just our family. We have plans the next few weekends, too. When would be the next time we could go to the beach? Wouldn’t it be crowded during the weekend, anyway? And he is growing up so quickly. How much older would he be “next time”?

I’m so happy I got to take the little guy out on an adventure. (Almost) two and a half years is such a fun age. I want to remember how today felt for the rest of my life. I hope he made some happy core memories today, too.

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