My hubby lived his entire childhood in the Sunshine State. I’m not sure that he actually left the state more than twice before he turned 18. Living in Florida, most people are no more than two hours from the ocean, whether it be the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico. This was definitely the case for Justin. As a child, he was always at the beach. It is no surprise, then, that he took up the arts of surfing and skim boarding. You can imagine his excitement at our return to the state of his youthful adventures and his visions of spending ample time on the sandy shores, romping and playing with his family.
Daydreamed visions can be deceiving from time to time. I’m sure Justin imagined us driving the few miles from our house to the beach, jumping out of the van and running excitedly to the water, spending hour upon hour basking in the sun and enjoying the surf. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.
I had a near drowning experience when I was 14, and don’t care much for the ocean. I’m not a strong swimmer, and rip currents are definitely not my friend. I prefer a river or lake to the ocean any day. Justin knows that I will not go in the water above my knees unless he is right next to me ready to save me if necessary. I am also a burner. I just think of the sun and need to reach for the aloe leaves. Instead of a tan, my freckles just connect.
Jake really enjoys the beach. Justin has started to take him out and teach him to surf. He can swim, but could use some fine tuning, which swim lessons this summer on base should help with. When he’s not trying to surf, Jake is in the water boogie boarding his heart out. If he gets tired, he’s content with building sand castles with Jolie and Jensen, but is really at home in the water.
Jolie hates the beach. She had her first Florida beach experience when she was about 6 months old. Justin dangled her feet in the ocean as a wave approached, and it was downhill from there. For a while, she hated the sand. We took a family vacation to Kitty Hawk, NC and actually had to carry her from the hotel room down to the blanket each day. She finally warmed up to stepping off the blanket the last day we were there. Now that she’s a bit older, she will walk down to the beach and actually enjoys playing in the sand. The water is another story. She, like me, prefers to stay dry at the beach.
Jensen has no fear of the water. He will take his sandals off and walk straight into the ocean. He is getting some exposure to the water and shows swimming potential. He doesn’t care for cold ocean water, but I’m sure if the jelly fish stay away this summer, he’ll be out enjoying the water with this brother and daddy.
Justin loves to surf and skim board while we’re at the beach, depending on the waves. He has gotten in the habit of checking the surf report every morning when he watches his morning news on the computer. The beach is relaxing for him, and I’m sure he’d spend as much time at the beach as possible if he could.
We may not be the picture perfect beach family, but I think we all get some much needed free recreation time during our beach adventures. I’m sure the kids will fondly remember their beach time, or at least that is what I hope. I bet Jake will be surfing before we leave Florida, Jolie and Jensen may dig their way to the center of the Earth, and once Jensen can swim, I’ll be able to relax under the umbrella and read a good book. We won’t live in Florida forever, so I hope that we can all enjoy it while it lasts.