We're here at the beach, and if I'm being honest, I was a little worried about this trip. My boys are, shall we say, energetic, and I just wasn't sure if, A. we would be able to handle them in the face of such adventurous temptation, or B. they would find the adventures all that tempting. Turns out, I had nothing to worry about on either account.
Every moment we are here feels like a perfectly scripted and staged Hallmark movie, except the people are real and actually related to each other, and the events depicted totally resemble real life on purpose. Scene 1, the boys chase the surf and collapse into a laughing heap in the sand, hair windblown and cheeks flushed with the excitement of new experience. Camera pans out for a wide angle shot of whitecaps and orangey-purple sunset, scans over to proud papa standing with hands on hips, abject devotion as plain to see in his face, even in his stance, as the gulls soaring on updrafts overhead. Scene 2, daddy and boys work together to build a sand castle from a bucket that closely resembles a giant chess piece. They count to three together, upend the bucket to reveal their perfect fortress, cheer for the sheer joy of creation, then demolish it because only then can they go through the whole process again. Scene 3, little boy fights back at encroaching tide by throwing sand into the surf and yelling, "You can't get me, ocean!" as if he could, in all the blustery confidence of 3 1/2 years old, stop the constant rush in and suck back of the ever-powerful, all-consuming ocean.
Oh, how I relate to that little one. I think he knows he can't keep it at bay -- that he cannot turn the tide with his tiny handfuls of sand. He can see neither the beginning of the shoreline nor the end of the water, but still he must try to make progress against the relentless pound of sea against sand. He can see the pulverized shells that have been cast up from the depths, can see what such power can do to things that seem so hard, so indestructible . . . and still, he must try. Because, really, what are we, if we don't keep trying? If we just let the sea roll over us and drag us under without putting up a fight, kicking and screaming against the undertow? He gets this, I think -- on some deep, genetically-programmed level, he strives to make his voice heard above the roar of the surf, above the whip of the wind that would steal his words before he even says them. I hope he never stops. God help any of us when we decide to stop trying.