One of the first things I did once my daughter learned to stand was take her to the beach. I felt like it was one of those rite-of-passage moments to let her experience sand in her diaper and for me to snap pictures of her wearing a floppy sunhat with zinc on her nose. (We won’t even go into the several tubes of colored zinc I bought her to play dress up with.) So years go by and my daughter continues going to the beach with our relatives or with friends, and I kind of file it away under went to the beach and move on.
Well, a couple of months ago my parents moved to Mobile, Alabama. That was as close as they’ve ever lived to the ocean. (My mother loves the beach.) And I kept thinking one day I would drive down to the water, but I never did. It was just another of those things I filed under maybe or one day and moved on.
Last weekend, my daughter and I came to visit my parents and my daughter asked Mom to take us to the beach. I tried to put it off, but my daughter was insistent. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go, it was just that I had so much on my plate I felt guilty for taking time off to go play in the waves.
So we drive down to Dauphin Island, and I’m standing ankle-deep in water when I realize it’s been ten years since I saw the ocean. It was staggering to think I had put it off for so long. Granted, when you have kids the years begin to blur, but a decade? Wow.
The experience really drove home how important it is to make time for your family and for having fun. Work will always be there, but if you blink your kids are entering high school or graduating college. Money is tight for everyone these days, but you don’t have to make a big trip or big gesture. Just take an afternoon off and spend it with your family or friends doing something you love and remember that life happens so fast sometimes we have to throw on the brakes and remember to enjoy ourselves.
My upcoming release, Soul Weaver, makes me wonder if I wasn’t pining for the ocean all along. The heroine, Chloe, has never visited a beach, but she’s obsessed with them.
How about you? Is there anywhere you’d love to be but keep saving it for one day?
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