One day a few weeks ago, I managed to sneak out during rest time on one of Matt's work from home days for a walk on the beach. On my way back to our street, I passed the cutest old couple. She was bent over, helping him take off his shoes and socks while he balanced by holding on to her back. As I walked by, I heard them chattering away to each other, and I said "Oh yes, you definitely have to get those tootsies in the sand!"
They smiled and me and she replied "Oh yes, we do! We have never been to the ocean before! We are from Ohio and this is incredible!"
I congratulated them and wished them an awesome stay. In all honesty, I didn't think about it again.
A few nights ago, I managed to sneak out after bedtime for an evening swim. It had been a really rough day, full of stress, and sick and unhappy children. As I floated in the cool, clear water, I pulled my toes up to wiggle them. And it hit me...
"We've never been to the ocean before!"
My mind went blank as I imagined never having seen the ocean. I've lived next to the water the majority of my life, except for maybe 3 years total where we lived inland. That cute little couple had gone 60+ years of their life without hearing the ocean's roar. Or feeling the sand beneath their feet. What did they do? How did they relieve their stress?
The ocean is ingrained in me. And my family. Our little piggies belong in the sand. The beach is where we go as a family to learn, grow and enjoy in each other. Bonds of trust and happiness are formed as we swim in the waves, in every sand castle we build together, and in every snack we bring to share at the beach. The ocean is where we belong to nature, where we celebrate the Earth and the simplicity of what it has to give us. Stress and unhappiness are checked at the street, and as we come over the dunes our hearts are filled with joy and peace.
Floating in the water the other night made me more aware of the gift that we have been given in living here. I will say that I take it for granted. I know that. When something is a part of you, you just don't question it. But after meeting that couple and seeing the pure joy on their face of experiencing something they had only dreamed about, I felt ashamed for not being more thankful for the amazing-ness that is seriously steps from my front door.
We are all water babies in this family. I love seeing my children grow up in such a simple environment. It takes us back to what is really elemental in our lives. Sun, water, sand, and nature. No TV, no distractions. Just us. We never know what we are going to see at the beach, what animal we might discover, what friend we might meet. But I do know one thing... I won't take it for granted anymore.