Saturday, July 28, 2007

We've been to the beach.

he liked it.

On Dooce, Heather Armstrong recently referred to vacation with a child as SUFFERING, and I wouldn't go quite that far.


Ian had a wonderful time at the beach. An insanely wonderful time. Which is to say, apparently something about it drove him insane.

I know that, because shortly after he went completely insane, we stopped briefly at the Jockey outlet for our bi-annual underwear upgrade.

Ian chose to entertain the assembled underwear shoppers by grabbing two gold-colored women's thong panties, on hangers, and running through the crowded store, squealing, twirling them over his head in interlocking circles. Like, I don't know, some sort of underpants drill team.

And I dutifully chased him, mostly to avoid the disapprobation of my peers, because I think we all know it wasn't like I was going to be able to catch him or anything.

That wasn't the only incident, but kind of indicative. It captures the general texture of the week. I know I've complained about him recently, but he's normally not like THAT. We're fairly proud of his ability to join is in restaurants and stores (for reasonable periods) without incident. Strangers are always praising him for his good behavior and even disposition.

Ha ha.

Some snags aside, it was actually fun - we stayed right up at the boardwalk, and could walk down to the ocean carrying nothing more than a room key. For years, we stayed on the outskirts of town, and carried enough stuff each day to start a small lunar colony - food, clothes, books, a tent. This year, I could literally get up and go for a swim in the ocean CARRYING NOTHING. This is the only way, and I don't care how old and crappy the motel (ours was somewhat crappy) is or how rowdy the kids are outside after dark (barely rowdy even by Bethany standards. No lie, there were a bunch of high school boys playing guitar and singing Wonderwall on the boardwalk at 9pm.)

And, of course, it was emotional for me, seeing Ian take to it the way he did, and seeing Eric be such a dad. It made me think about how the beach has kind of 'been there for me', from babyhood through college and singlehood and wife-hood, and now with a beach baby of our own.

It's like a flipbook of snapshots - there's me and mom in matching sundresses at Avalon, there's dad throwing Sandy over the waves; there's me in my red white and blue racing suit in 1972; there's my mom after the stroke; me and Paul and Chuck; me and Dorney and Chuck and Larry..there are all the pictures of me that Eric has taken, holding up a rubber frog at Funland, shading my eyes by the jetty. There are even pictures from our pregnant trip, 2 years ago, when it rained the whole time and never got about 70. I'm obviously lost - huge, uncomfortable, already tired of waiting but mentally paralyzed, completely unable to think about what I'm waiting for. The rain pounded the dunes, and I stood out in it, shooting video of the whipping grass.

And now Ian, running in and out like a sandpiper, dropping handfuls of sand after the receding wave, showing the ocean who's boss.

We're going again in 6 weeks.


Stacie said...

GAH! I missed you during our trip :-P

I'm glad I got to say 'Hi' but forgot to ask Deedie to tell you I had to leave early. But that's not why I'm here right now...

Your beach trip. And your experience with your own child. We did a day trip to the beach. To Ocean City, even. And it was not scary. It was fun. There were all kinds of people there, the waves were huge that day (the same Monday you were in Bethany) and the boys were in love with the whole thing. The run into the waves screaming, jump around, build never-ending sand castles and loved every minute we were there.

I'm not sure why I found it so emotional but I have loads of photos of the backs of their heads with the ocean spread out in front of them. I'm always struck by how primitive it can be when you realize you have a kid and kids have been happening forever and that ocean is in front of you and that ocean has seen more families come through that I'll ever be able to imagine.

I grew up landlocked and saw the ocean for the first time when I was twelve. I've been obsessed with it since I was in the second grade and would happily live near the ocean at any time. I'm thinking my kids share my opinion.

Stacie said...

*THEY run into the waves screaming...THAN I'll ever be able to imagine... horrible typing, sorry.