Monday, August 2, 2010

"Don't grow up too quickly, lest you forget how much you love the beach."

So I love the beach. I think if I could choose to place a house anywhere it would be on the beach. Ok, so maybe not right squat on the beach, because then you have to worry about beach erosion and your house going right along with it, and waves crashing through your windows, and jelly fish on your kitchen floor. But most definitely ocean front. I want my bedroom to have a wall of windows facing the ocean and the sunrise, or sunset, but I really don't want to live in California, I heard somewhere that is going to fall into the ocean someday, and I don't exactly want to live in the ocean, just be able to look at it and hear it. I really don't think that is asking too much.

I love the beach in all weather, in all seasons. I love salt water effected hair, sand in my ear canals, and lying in bed at night still feeling as though you are being rocked by the waves. Don't you just love the smell of the beach? The sticky air? I even love the smell of the stinky sludge in the bay. That is love ladies and gentlemen.I love sand between my toes, I love getting home from the beach and seeing the sand in the carpet of the car, some might get annoyed by this, I love it.

I love the summer because I can decorate my house with shells from the beach, that I found, and this giant one from my Pop Pop's home that I took after I was living there for a bit. It isn't exactly stealing, it was outside, it had spider webs in it, this conch shell was left for the taking, so get off my case. It reminded me of him because he too loved the beach. I mean loved it like no other. He would be tan all summer, and inevitably most of the year. I honestly think the sand in his hair would stay there until at least christmas time. My ocd behavior would beg to peel his back when he returned home from the beach. That's gross, I know it is, try being me, I swear I was meant to be a dermatologist. I am obsessed with pores, skin, etc. Anyway, I got to keep this conch shell and his hat that said, 'Plumbers have Bigger Tools.' That my friends, is some good memorabilia of a grandfather.

So,our family was coming from out west to visit again, and they wanted to go to the beach for the day. Now I have not been on a beach vacation since Ethan was born, so I am suffering from some major withdrawal. Not only that, my kids don't even remember the beach! Can you imagine that? This is some major neglect going on.

In preparation for this day, I explained the beach to Kendall and Ethan. I told them all about the waves and what we could do with the sand. They asked about sharks, I promised there was no sharks, what are they crazy?!!? I went to bed each night leading up to the day praying that the Lord would not bless Harvey Cedars with a shark sighting on the day we were to be there. They wanted to know why we were not taking a plane to the beach. I mean, we hardly ever went there, it must be far, like Disney World. I explained we would be taking the van, that it would take a little bit of time, but we could most certainly drive, Daddy is not Donald Trump, and we were not hitting up Atlantic City.

Jacob was running a high fever the day we were to go. I was panic ridden the night before, certain that we couldn't go due to this illness, and I would break Kendall's heart because it was all she talked about. I mean E talked about it too, but really, he talked about it because Kendall talked about it, much like everything else he talks about. In his little head, I am certain that the beach was simply a pool surrounded by sand, and we can do that any old day. So back to Jacob, you know him, the third child? Well he was burning up, and not only is it just plain difficult to take a newborn to the beach, but a sick one did just not fly. I didn't want to leave him sick and all with just anyone so I could worry and feel like s terrible mother all day. So in swept our hero, Daddy Dearest, who said he would take the day off to stay with Jake. What an awesome man, have you met him?

And we get there, much to Beatrice's, the british lady on the Tom Tom that wanted to get me lost, dismay. 'Turn right in 50 yards.' 'Opps, continue to the nearest turn around point and head back, make a left in 25 yards.' Seriously? Why are they british, telling me how to get somewhere in America, and how do I know what 25 yards is exactly? My grandmother informed me that a football field was 100 yards, so that should give me an idea. Again, what? Stupid GPS'.

So we arrive on Long Beach Island. Not only have I not been to the beach in a few years, but, I have not been to LBI since I graduated high school. I forgot how much I loved this little town. It's a classic beach town, nothing gaudy, and people ride the street on beach cruisers in bare feet. I guess you could do this anywhere, but doing it here makes it all that more nostalgic. We get all ready, load up our arms, and begin the walk to the beach. Because that is what you do, you set up a mini camp on the beach, you take all your arms can carry, because you never know what you might need, and the car is a 5 minute walk away, and that is far.

Ethan insisted that he be the leader. And he is getting pretty clever, more on that in another entry, but I can read that kid's mind like it's my job, which it is I suppose, and we are still attached by an umbilical cord, it's a medical phenomenon. So he does not announce aloud that he wants to be the first person to see the ocean, because that would mean he would have some competition, so his little legs picked up speed on the little boardwalk to the beach. Almost to the top he exclaims, 'I am going to see the ocean first!' And when he reached the top, of the dune he froze. His head slowly went from left to right taking in the size of it all. And then he takes off again.

Mind you. This child is the cautious child. Always proceeding to something new with a little trepidation. So I for certain thought that he would either a. take the entire day to even stick his feet in the ocean, and then love it when we had to leave, or b.not want to go near it at all and scream like he does at the sight of clowns at the mere suggestion of sticking a toe in. Did I ever mention this kid and clowns? I mean terrified, he screams like a mass murderer is coming after him with a hatchet when one is near. Panic takes over his face, and his facial expressions are so large and animated that you swear he is about to fall over and just die from fear. He looks at a picture of a clown and shudders. But he is not stopping and here I am tossing everything into a heap and racing to grab his hand before the first wave hits him. Thank goodness Jacob was not with us, he might have landed on top of the umbrella. It smacks into him and I let him fall. First lesson of the ocean, it is really strong. Since he was showing no fear, I wanted to instill a little, I have that healthy fear of the ocean, like if you don't mind your manners, you are getting a huge mouthful of salt and sand to choke on. But he gets up laughing hysterically, wanting more. Kendall right beside him, thinking that it is just hilarious that the water is not flat like a pool. She wants her swimmies so she can go swim out in it really far. Wonderful. You never think about the exact opposite of a situation being worrisome also. I found that out real fast. Kendall found out real fast about sand in the pouch of the bathing suit. That it feels real comfy. Nothing like feeling like you have a load in your pants that is chafing you at the same time.

So after some battles with the waves, they took to the sand. And they looked like sand monsters, sand sticks so well to suntan lotion, what fun!

Kendall and E played with Carson and Kaitlyn all day long.

At one point my sister took my begging daughter out into the ocean in between the yellow flags. I will just go ahead and say, that is what just plain sucks about the Jersey Beaches, you have to swim between the yellow flags so the life guards can save you a little easier. I call this laziness. So everyone is all crammed together like a public pool, and people who insist on body surfing in this tight space get to annoy the crap out of you. Kendall quickly learned that it is not so fun way out there with or without your swimmies since a wave took them in the first two minutes. Kendall was screaming and crying telling me she was 'never going in the deep end of the ocean again!' 'How could Aunt Chelley do that' to her!?!??! But once we got back to the 'little end,' in front of our chairs, she was happy to jump and splash again, and scowl at her aunt.

Now my grandmother. I say it like I am nothing like her, but I am just the exactly the opposite, and just like her. She believes firmly that when you go somewhere you are going to experience it all. And when you go to the beach, you get the sea gulls. She decides it might be fun for the kids to feed them and watch them swarm. Yes, she was the person on the beach you want to drop kick because they are feeding the seagulls.

Once it was done, this one gull didn't take the hint, and stuck around for leftovers. Carson named him Bob, and a friend was made. He just sat there amongst us. We fed him by hand and Kendall even stuck a goldfish cracker in her lips, and Bob came up and grabbed it right out. Now had she not thrown the goldfish crackers into the air, we would have never met Bob. See what I am saying? Experience life a little, feed the seagulls.

When it was time to leave Ethan did not want to budge. It was 6 pm, and him and my mother could have stayed there till dark. A beach bum in the making. We promised him that next summer we would stay over at the beach for a lot of nights in a house. OBX we are coming home...

So there is still some sand in my van's carpets. But it is almost time to vacuum it again, looks like we have to go back for some more.

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