Summer pounces on the East Coast without so much as a polite phone call to say she’s coming. One day the kids are at the bus stop wearing hooded sweatshirts with their hands in their pockets, bouncing to keep warm; the next morning they’re rummaging through their drawers screaming, “Mom, where’s my shorts? How come all my favorite t-shirts are missing?” Do they think I’m part of an evil plot with winter to rid the world of everything summery? The Bible says control your tongue.
“I’ll be right there. Did you check the bags in the closet?” Those bags were supposed to make it to the summer bin, but got caught in winter traffic and stayed toasty in the bottom of the closet, absorbing the musty aroma. I’ll have to spray the kids with perfume.
It’s official: Summer is here and I have the burden of the beach. Living in a Long Island beach town, where flocks of city dwellers flutter off the train everyday to enjoy our beautiful beach, I feel compelled to check out the waves at least once a day. Guilt festers if I don’t.
This morning I wake up to the hum of the hedge trimmers and the sun’s warm whisper calling me to rise and think, "I’m NOT going to the beach today." I’ll write for a while, do some much needed housework, go to my sons’ baseball game, and ride bikes to the park with Jordan, my 5 year-old daughter. What a peaceful “unsandy” day, a perfect plan.
It was a perfect plan until the kids voiced their own ideas for a fun day.
Aaron plops on the couch, tossing his dirty hat across the room. “Can we go to the beach? Seamus is going with his dad and Kelly.”
As soon as my daughter hears Kelly, Seamus’s younger sister who she adores, she pipes in: “Yah Mom, please…please?”
I toss Aaron’s hat back to him. “Nice catch. Oh, alright…as long as you promise to clean your rooms later.” Might as well get something out of this. Our house morphs into a sandbox in the summer.
Elijah joins the chorus: “We promise.” Why do I think they may be crossing their little fingers?
Maybe today we’ll be ready to go in less than an hour. We hope to get there before Seamus and Kelly are heading home.
Ready, set, may the beach rush begin…
Find the bathing suits – ooh, they’re wet…stick them in the dryer. Sandals on; make sandwiches; fill water bottles; pack beach passes, beach toys, and towels; slather sun block; put dry suits on…go potty one more time. Breathe.
We get to the first corner. “Wait here. I forgot my chair.” Gotta have my chair.
Finally, we’re marching across five blocks to the ocean. Jordan begins the whines. “This bag’s heavy.”
“Here, I’ll carry it.”
“That’s why we’re going to the beach. You can cool off there.”
At the beach, I inhale the clean ocean air. Our feet sink into the soft sand. I’m glad we came. We are blessed to live so close to the Atlantic.
I stand at the shore watching Aaron and Elijah boogie board on the crashing waves. Jordan circles me, giggling and splashing. Good, she won’t go in too far; my toes are numb.
Then I focus on the view. How can anyone watch the ocean and not see an awesome Creator?
The waves charge in like wild horses. The strength of the God. They recede quietly. His patient love draws us to Him. Before the rough water’s edge, the deep ocean rolls on and on. His endless love. Blue water glistens like sapphire pouring diamonds at the shore. He is King of all creation. We take up a miniscule part of this vast ocean, yet He cares.
Getting to the beach may be as fun as scrubbing toilets, but it’s there I can throw my burdens into the sea. He flushes them away with the tide.
As we trudge home through the sand, I see His infinite thoughts of me. I should remember that when sweeping seems futile.
We gather our beach gear. My chair I never got to sit on is decorated with seagull poop. But I’m cheerful; that could have been my head.
By the time we’re home and I’m hosing the sand off my children like they’re on fire, I’ve made up my mind: tomorrow will definitely be an “unsandy” day, unless the ocean calls.
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