We live in a city with beaches envied and visited by people around the world. Yet it’s taken me 18 years to finally begin to have a desire and willingness to go to these beaches that have always been so close to us. We’ve taken visiting family and friends to the beach, but those have been short visits either for lunch at a beach cafe or just to get a glimpse of the ocean or to feel the sand, not to hang out and play and swim.
We live only 10 minutes from the closest beach and it’s a super easy drive, too. But I’ve always considered it too much of a chore to go—all the toys to bring, snacks and drinks to prepare, sunblock to slather on, towels and hats to pack. And then we have to park and lug all this stuff to a spot. And then of course, at the end of the day, we have to pack it all up and trudge back to the car with tired kids, wet towels, and toys full of sand.
It seems the tide is beginning to turn, however. The other weekend we went to the beach for Father’s Day, and we are already planning our next trip to the beach. It was Daddy’s wish to go. He was at an event at the beach not long ago and had the chance to body surf and boogie board again. He remembered how much he enjoys the beach. He’s always loved the beach. He grew up in a house right on the beach in Santa Monica. He wants his sons to become confident and competent in the waves. So we went to the beach.
This time we chose a part of the beach that was a little farther north than where we’ve been before. What I immediately liked was that we could park very close to where we wanted to be on the beach and that wasn’t far from the ocean. The beach along our coast is long and varies in width. Some places, in particular in Santa Monica, the beach is very wide and it’s a long trek from the parking lot to the ocean. Other places, like farther north in Pacific Palisades, the beach is much narrower and you can park within yards of the ocean.
Part of the problem with going to the beach is that you can never be certain of the weather. Even though it might be sunny with beautifully clear blue skies at our house, it can be cool (or cold) and cloudy at the beach only 10 minutes away. And that was unfortunately the case on Father’s Day. That didn’t stop the boys from having fun, though. They played baseball and in the sand. Daddy went body surfing and boogie boarding, but he was not able to entice the boys into the water. They were happy just playing at the water’s edge.
It wasn’t exactly my type of beach day. I had brought my book, sun hat, and beach umbrella and was eager to just relax, read, and watch the boys play and swim. Instead I sat huddled under my towel waiting for the sun to appear, which it didn’t do until three hours later when it was time to leave. But it was an easy trip and the kids had fun, and I too want the kids to become confident and competent in the waves. So I think we’ll return soon, especially when we left with this image in our minds of our day at the beach…