Thursday, November 4, 2010

Surfing with Family is a Mixed Bag

My seven year old daughter has a skin condition. It makes things painful for her that are not painful for other people. It makes things frightening for her that are not frightening for other people. Like sand. Like sun. Like the beach.

As excited as I was to finally have a dual family surf session, during which I would watch the kids while my friend G surfed, and he would watch them while I surfed - Trinity was...unexcited. Full of dread. Overcome with anxiety. Miserable.

I soldiered forward. On my back, a bulging pack full of diapers, wipes and assorted child needs. Over my shoulder, a pouch full of snacks. From one arm hung an unwieldy beach bag holding water bottles, towels and a wetsuit. Under the other, a large blue surfboard. Big Mama Wave.  The triumph was carrying all this baggage while safely directing the children across the road, across the bike path and towards the water.

The defeat? Trinity wouldn't step off the boardwalk onto the sand.

The triumph? I set us up on the beach without losing it.

The defeat? Trinity still wouldn't step off the boardwalk onto the sand.

The triumph? Ultimately, I carried her, legs wrapped tightly around my waist, to a cool spot beneath a lifeguard station.

The defeat? No sitting beneath lifeguard stations.

And on and on and on.

The ultimate triumph? Family surfing day happened.  I paddled out, enjoyed the gentle rise and fall of the waves, caught a few, wiped out a few. Got wet, got cool, got healed.

I've been trying hard lately: to breathe deep, to stay calm, to not lose it. After surfing, I don't even have to try.

It was low tide by the time I made it to the water. G said it was hardly worth going out. I disagree.

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