We recently made our way back from our first family vacation at the beach. Thankfully, my folks have a vacation home there (Have I told you guys lately how much I love you?), and so we’ll forever have a place to go when life hands us lemonade (take today, for instance), should we still be able to afford the outrageous gas prices in order to traverse there.
Stepping off my soap box… now.
In heading to the beach with our litter (parents of twins or multiples get to lovingly refer to their offspring as such), I couldn’t help but notice how our daughters O and Ro interacted with the water. One went running in without looking back, pushing and pulling for us to let her go since she clearly had it all worked out already. The other kicked and screamed and clung to us, only relaxing after much coaxing and the singing of her particular lullaby. (I, Master of What, am quite fond of making up tunes for the ones whom I adore. I may have also made up a little ditty if you’ve wronged or hurt me terribly, complete with dramatic feeling and perhaps a frustrated hand gesture or two, but you probably wouldn’t know about that. I never said I wasn’t a major work in progress.)
I also couldn’t help but reflect on my own nature in conjunction with the surf. No, not “surfing” the act, but the literal surf from which I narrowly stray. My nature has always been a bit more on the reserved side, which is why, in my (ahem) 30s I just now learned to ride a bike, thanks to one incredibly patient husband. As a kid actor, there was always some show coming up, and I was afraid I’d break a literal leg in lieu of the proverbial one, and so that bike lesson never had any followups.
My husband, on the other hand, is part fish. Growing up in Africa made him adventurous and fearless. Tales of standoffs with poisonous snakes, vacations at Victoria Falls, lions and tigers and hippos (Oh, my!) pepper his childhood story. Needless to say, I watched from the shore as the father of my children reconnected with his own nature by swimming further and further and still further from the surf, leading him to swim right next to a manatee. That is what adventure can bring you–the unexpected joy. I was also reintroduced to his inner boy, who rode off daily on a bike to go fishing in the Intracoastal Waterway, eyes laughing when he said, Man I hope there aren’t any gators in my fishing spot.
There’s a reason why this careful girl married the adventurous boy. I needed that spark from him that I pray the girls will inherit, too. Until then, we’ll happily strap them in a couple of life jackets and wait with them in the water, riding out each wave as it comes.