Since we have family in the Florida panhandle, we’ve spent Thanksgiving week at the beach for years now. Eli’s been coming since before he was born, and in the past he’s not thought much of the beach. When he was a year old, he didn’t like how the sand felt under his feet. When he was two years old, he would dig in the sand, but he preferred more interesting hobbies like playing indoors and pestering his grandparents. Last year the water scared him, and that was before I told him about sharks and jellyfish and the Undertoad that was waiting to drag him to a watery grave — you know, the kind of thing all responsible parents tell their kids. I figured this year would be the same.
It’s been around 65 degrees F (18 degrees C), but the Gulf of Mexico waters have been around 50 degrees F (OH GOD THE COLD IT BURNS degrees C). That doesn’t deter Eli. He dashes in, splashes around, and runs back out before doing it all again. Worse, he demands that we all come in with him. We can tell when he’s been in there too long because his chattering blue lips are covered in snot. See? The beach is healthy!
I’m excited that Eli has learned to love the beach. I’ve been coming down here for over 25 years, and the smell of salt water, the sound of the surf, the feel of the sand beneath my feet, all relax me. I had worried that Eli wouldn’t enjoy it at all.
I’m so glad I was wrong.