Saturday, December 29, 2007

Dear Alex at the beach

Last year when we did this, we visited the beach but once, as Dear Alex clearly wasn't ready for the majesty of the ocean. I remember her crying, and tears as we tried to get her close to the water. She had the chance at the beach a few times over the last year, and has gotten a little bit more comfortable each time - but again, when we went to the beach, there was a bit of fear, and Dear Alex took a little convincing to even get close to the water. It's amazing how quickly she took to the ocean and now how hard it is to get her to leave - she could and would sit in the surf for hours, taking great delight in getting knocked over and splashing in the water as it recedes. I took her out in the surf today, and while Dear Alex hung on like she'd never let me go, she also giggled her head off each time we jumped up with a swell. I think she likes the beach - which is a good thing, I think, as both Beautiful Wife and I have separately loved the beach as children, and I can't imagine not having had that endless summer at the beach childhood. t's a testament to Dear Alex's passion that it took BW and I taking turns in the sand and water with her to satisfy her desire to play in the "big big sandbox" (the beach) and the "ocean". But there is one thing that I certainly never thought of - certainly not when I was a kid, about how powerful that big ocean is, and how quickly it could take a little peanut like Dear Alex. It should be clear by now that I'm not the most paranoid of parents - but that edge of splashy warm delight, and that rush of water has a power that you rarely consider unless you've got that awful responsibility of being daddy. This is a time when you have a secret reserve of watchfulness that you didn't even know you had.
The same is true, of course, with the swimming pool, though it is a much more controlled environment - I love the water, and I want Dear Alex to take the same joy as I do, so it's never about fear - it is about paying attention. Today Dear Alex made an unprompted leap of faith, literally into my arms, that made the daddy thing very happy, and very real.
Dear Alex sits on the top step of the steps with the handrail into the swimming pool, and says, arms raised, with a smile on her face "swim to daddy" I'm standing waist-deep in water a few steps away. The dear girl crawls from the top step to the second to the third into water over her head and pushes forward into my arms. Without stopping to check if I really was going to be there, or looking. Of course I was there, and of course I'll be there. We spent an hour or so at the same game - I don't think either of us was tired of it when it came time to stop.

No comments: