Last summer, my daughter wasn't mobile. Beach trips consisted of playing with stacking cups under the umbrella and pointing at seagulls. This past weekend was our first time at the beach with a walking toddler. And wow was she walking...and running. She stumbled across the dunes, shouted at the ocean, genuinely blown away by the foaming waves, she picked up shells, put down shells and barrel rolled on the sand. She was so happy and it was wonderful to watch.
At some point during her backward crab crawl across the beach, as sand caked into her pupils, I was brought back to a Caribbean vacation I took pre-baby. I remembered my childless self, sipping a tropical cocktail and reading a book under a tiki umbrella with my husband basking in the sun next to me, an hour into the worst sunburn of his life. Next to us were a couple with an adorable 6 month old. I was thoroughly impressed, and slightly confused, as to why this adventurous couple decided to bring their infant to the far off island of our destination. It seemed an impossible feat. Were they actually having a nice, relaxing vacation? I didn't ask, but I desperately wanted to.
Flash forward to my sand covered babe who is gleefully rolling across the wet beach like a frolicking seal lion. The beach is so different now. Life is so different now. And, I can't compare my two hour beach trip to a week long tropical vacation, but I can make an educated guess at what those parents were thinking - they couldn't bare to do anything without their tiny man. They derived such joy from watching him experience life that it almost didn't matter where they were. They weren't there for the drinks or the sunburns, they were there to have an adventure as a family. Of course (of course), there will be future vacations when my little one stays at grandma's house while my husband and I sip cocktails under a tiki umbrella. And I'll sleep late and read a book more than one chapter at a time and sun bathe in silence, which will be amazing, but I'll miss my daughter more than a little. I'll miss her sea lion impression.
|How adorable is this little seal lion pup? My daughter has the same form.|