I love the coast. My grandparents lived on an Island off the coast of a neighboring state very close to here and I have more, and more vivid memories from there than any other time or place in my growing up. And it’s not just the ocean, it the whole sense of place. It resonates within me. My bones feel like they’re alive here.
It’s where I’m my most me. It’s where my skin fits best. Here. Not one specific here, though the island where my grandparents lived, where I still have family, I know like the back of my hand, but any here is where I belong.
Simeon, my son, my mini-me feels it, too. Perhaps it’s the rhythm of my heart he’s heard a million times, or simply my contagious passion for the everything here. Whatever it is, he’s got it bad.
So we weren’t here 30 minutes before the kids and I were in the car and speeding towards the end.
And I knew Pink had never seen the ocean. And I was completely prepared for her to be scared. I was planning on dragging her gangly little self right down the shore and show her how wonderfully, magical it all is.
We arrived at low tide, so it was quite and still. We were racing the sunset and I knew we had quarter-hour at best. Nearly running, Simeon and I propelled ourselves off the walk onto the sand and our souls sang.
Pink was right there with us. Perhaps a tad hesitant, but certainly not afraid. Amen!
Onward, to the water we went. Joy. Breathing deeply. Feeling just right as our shoes suck and slurp along the wet sand.
Simeon immediately goes for the shells. The beautiful, mysterious carnage of low tide.
And that’s where it all fell apart.
Pink began clinging to my legs, clambering up my body (which she is nearly as tall as, btw). She was whimpering.
“What in the world is wrong, child?”
She was scared. Of the shell. The shell? The shell.
And that’s where I lost it. I made her hold it. I made her dig one up out of the ground, crying and shaking, and hold it in her hand. I lit up my phone and illuminated the white and pink of it while she cried.
Then I ranted and raved the whole way back to the car. I slammed the doors and stewed angrily on the way back to the hotel. I texted angry texts to Leo about how this is clearly not a forever child. I may have said something really level-headed and super sensitive like “she’s sucking the joy out of my happy place!!!” [frowney face]
Back at the hotel now, kids have read stories and been prayed over and are trying to sleep. We’ve made our peace. Though begrudgingly and with the threat that she’ll sit with Leo through meetings tomorrow while Simeon and I go enjoy ourselves on the beach!
Please Lord, forgive me. Help her to forgive me. Please don’t let me have traumatized her. Help me to be joyful no matter what comes of this trip. Help me be respectful of her feelings and limitations. And forgive my selfish prayer, but really, can you just make her love this place, too? Amen.