one of the things that i looked forward to about having kids was being able to share with them all of the things that i love. very close to the top of that list is the ocean. so, you might imagine my bitter disappointment when eliana, my oldest daughter, was completely unimpressed the first time we took her as a six month old to pismo beach and santa barbara.
every summer was progressively worse. she would take one look at where the ocean met the horizon and start to cry and scream. when she was two and a half, joseph and i took her to San Diego, doing our best to “talk up” the beach and the ocean. we’ll build sand castles! we’ll search for sea shells! we’ll see sea gulls! she seemed excited. i thought that would be our year, but as soon as the ocean was in sight and she could hear the waves crashing on the shore, she started to cry and begged us to leave. so, of course, we did.
over the past couple of years, she’s been able to be in the sand, but not in the water. i felt resigned, thinking, it’s ok. she doesn’t have to like everything that i like. it seemed like a fine compromise for us to be at the beach while she kept her distance from the water.
this year she is six years old, and something just shifted in her. she went with her day camp to an orange county beach a couple of weeks ago, and she enjoyed it. we went back with joseph’s family last weekend, and to my surprise, she was running toward the ocean (not too deep), jumping and splashing in the ocean spray. she was smiling and laughing, running ahead of me along the shore. watching her discover and enjoy the ocean was one of the sweetest moments that i’ve had with her. it makes me really appreciate the process of growing up.