There is something equalizing about the beach. No matter what state of mind I am in, it has a calming element to it. I lasted all of two days when we first quarantined before I needed to drive to the beach. I didn't go to the sand or walk around, I didn't even get out of my car. I just needed to see the ocean. I needed to see the vastness of the horizon. I needed something that felt the same, smelled the same and looked the same as it always did. I don't think I have been to the beach as frequently as I have this summer. I am so grateful my husband and children love it as much as I do.
With the beach being one of the safest places we can take advantage of now, we are doing just that. This year we bought wet suits and after our first full day of boogie boarding, we decided we wanted to surf. My husband surfed growing up and he hoped one day to teach the kids but it just hadn't worked out yet. We recently bought a new board and since the kids both skateboard, they took to the waves really well. I wanted to try but was terrified at first. I had only tried it once before years ago, and between the freezing water and the size of the board, I wasn't very successful. This time we got a soft top and with the help of my husband, I got up that first day quite a few times. I have a lot to learn and don't have a real sense of what to look for in a wave, but I am hooked. I have gone out five or six times so far and the last few times, I haven't had much luck. I am so determined though. My daughter who loves it just as much tried to coach me last time. I kept getting pummeled by waves and falling. She got tired of waiting for the board and I kept saying, "one more time, one more time."
We have close friends who we see regularly. Their kids are the same age as ours and it works out well that they all happen to be very close. They are really the only family we spend a lot of time with these days and together we have planned a lot of fun activities for the four kids. We "traveled" to different countries, by reading books together, we have done art projects, cooked meals, and taken bike rides to get treats from international shops. None of our kids went to camp this summer, or got to make new friends, but we had pretty enriching quality time nonetheless. We went to a Japanese garden, picnicked with Italian sandwiches, even and did a tour de Culver City where we biked through town looking for certain monuments. We did all of these activities with masks and with distance. We had a great time, but each week we cut out time for a beach day. I couldn't believe how much joy would radiate from the four kids on these days. They just all seemed so happy at the beach together. They boogie boarded, swam, played in the sand and couldn't get enough of it. Even after a long day of way too much sun, they don't want to leave when we say it's time to go home.
This past week we took probably one of our last outings to the beach before school starts. The kids all wanted to know if once school starts if we could still go to the beach. The answer is yes. My friend said her daughter told her that when we all go to the beach, things feel normal. I couldn't agree more.