Let me just get this out there. I don’t like the beach. And yes, for those of you who know me well, it IS extremely ironic that I need a wave sound-machine to lull me to sleep at night.
I’ll explain. I love the IDEA of the beach. Sipping pina coladas, watching pretty people walk around in swimsuits, listening to the surf and the seagulls while reading a good book.
In reality, the beach is a lot more less idyllic. Really fat people walking around in too-small swimsuits. Seagulls trying to steal food out of your hand, and then pooping on you. And sand. Everywhere. I mean EVERYWHERE. For weeks after you visit the beach. I took a drink out of my water bottle this morning and ended up with gritty sand in my mouth. And I didn’t even HAVE my water bottle at the beach yesterday!
Okay, okay. It’s not just about the sand (although, it’s A LOT about the sand). I’ll let you in on a little secret about me: I am TERRIFIED of the ocean. Not just “oh, no thanks, I don’t want to get salt water in my eyes” scared of the ocean. Literally having a mild panic attack every time I think about even getting in the ocean past my ankles. Don’t get me wrong – I am fascinated with all things ocean-related, and even thought about being a marine biologist at one point. Yes, I realize how
crazy multi-faceted I am. I’m cool like that.
I’m pretty sure my fear stems from the fact that I was attacked and mauled by a jellyfish at a young age (I may be exaggerating, but that’s how I remember it. Right, mom? Back me up here.). And also that my mom and step dad got cable when I was at a young, impressionable age – and a babysitter may or may not have let us watch ‘Jaws.’ (And that babysitter may or may not have been my stepsister. And she may or may not have been more focused on the party she was probably having in the backyard by the pool.)
Anyhoo – it was pretty much destiny that I would have a daughter that loves the beach AND the ocean. Paige cannot get enough of it. She loves to sit in the sand (ugh – SITTING. In the sand. See? Sand. E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E.) and build sandcastles. Or, actually, knock down the sand castle I spent 15 minutes making for her. She loves to jump over the waves and is constantly begging to go further and further out into the water. She has ZERO fear of the ocean. Every time I see her take one step further into the water I’m pretty sure a little piece of my heart arrests. It honestly takes everything I have not to establish a fake world for Paige and pretend that the ocean doesn’t exist. I’m willing to go to that length to not have to watch her swim in it. But, I’m not mean. At least, not if you ask me (Paige would tell you differently. In fact, I have been told twice today that she’s not playing with me anymore because I’m mean. Guess what? She’s LYING. Two minutes later she’s back to play with me. And I had JUST gotten my new magazine out. Jeesh.)
So, today I had to do it. Paige was with her daddy out on a sandbar, and Blair was on the beach with me screaming “Daddy! Da!!! (I think ‘Da’ is Paige at this point, but don’t hold me to that). I had to wade out to the sandbar holding Blair, and I had to pretend like it didn’t bother me at all. I’m trying really hard not to pass my neuroses along to my girls. I’m pretty sure they’re already screwed on the OCD front, so I’ll hopefully spare them from the rest.
And I did it. My heart was racing. I was sweating (no shock there). I could have used my inhaler. But I did it. I waded out to them and we played on the sandbar. (Okay, maybe the water only was as high as my waist, and maybe I made Derrick come walk with me halfway out. But, I DID it!).
Luckily, Blair seems to have inherited my feelings about the beach. She HATES it. No, that’s not even strong enough. Blair LOATHES the beach. So much so that Paige opted for the pool this morning because “Mommy, Bear hates the beach. She just cries and cries and cries. Let’s go to the pool so she doesn’t scream anymore.” I agree, Paige.
Blair does that funny little thing kids do where she pulls her feet high into the air any time I try to put her down on the sand, or in the water. She also does that less funny thing kids do when they throw a fit any time you try to make them do something they don’t want to do.
Let’s just say she gets it honestly. She loves the pool. She would spend all day basking in the sunshine and hanging out poolside. Which, incidentally, is right where I hope to be too.