Posted by janeoregano in Random Thoughts
September 4, 2013 at 7:47 pm
I love the sea. The seashore. The in-between place. The place where land meets sand. And the beautiful, terrifying awesomeness of the ocean, spanning thousands of miles to the opposite shore, where perhaps another family is feeling the same things, thinking the same thoughts.
This picture reminds me of my first trip to the seashore with my dear middle daughter. The daughter of the highs and lows, the deep feeler. Even as an infant, the happiest, the saddest. The neediest, the fiercest, the most independent. We took her to the boardwalk, me holding and cuddling her sleepy content self under my chin.
We began crossing the dune, and the dry grasses leaned and tickled and whispered to one another. Seagulls cried out, announcing our arrival. Waves could be heard but not seen. That roaring symphony of sound: watery walls crashing, shells raking, softly retreating only to begin anew. By the time we crested the dune, her tiny head was up and alert. Her enormous eyes took in the monstrous changes–blue sky of infinity, the blinding sand, the crashing surf, spilling over and over, sending screams from my daughter’s lips.
“It’s okay, baby, it’s okay,” I softly crooned, but she could not hear me. Overwhelmed. If she could have crawled over my shoulder and back to the safety of the boardwalk, she would have, but instead she screamed on, and I crooned on.
“What’s wrong, what’s wrong?” We all asked each other.
“Have you ever heard such a thing?”
“Should we turn back?”
“Is it too much?”
“Is she too young?”
“We should go back.”
I bravely pressed on. How could my child not love what I love? I hid my fear, because what if? What if she really felt fear? What if she never loved this ocean? What if she became the tiresome child on beach holiday whining about the seashore, the high waves, hot sand, sticky sunscreen, broken sandcastles, and when can-we-please-go-home? What if? What then?
She screamed on.
I crooned on.
We crossed the warm sands, picking our way between broken seashells, the waves beckoning us forward, despite the questions and the seagulls mocking our screaming child.
She turned forward. Her eyes landed on the horizon, another in-between place. She faced the music of water.
Her screams quieted. By the time we reached the water’s edge, she was laughing. Her first laugh? I’m not sure, but we all laughed. We laughed with her as the waves rolled in.
And now this child is the lover of the sea, the first one in the water, the last one out. The one with the blue lips and chattering teeth, sand in her suit, the one jumping the waves, gliding in the surf.
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