We are blessed with one week a year on the Atlantic coast beach with all of my husband’s family together for a reunion in one house. We arrived at the beach late last night to the smell of ocean and the sounds of waves. I was the first one to turn on the coffee this morning to take a cup down to the beach as the sun rose over the ocean. I wasn’t alone on the beach, there are others like me bed headed and slit eyed, but the house I walked away from was full of sleepers. I walked for an hour just to say hello to one of my favorite experiences in nature. I filled my lungs with salt air. Somewhere along the way I met God. We were like skin absorbing lotion and we become one with a glow. I could feel the main purpose of the week was to just maintain that connection and remain content and thankful in each moment as it is delivered. My dream has been to always have a beach home, and though I gave that up when we were called to the ministry in Uganda, I am thankful for this week each year, somehow it fills my personal reservoir.
This is Kira’s third beach reunion! The first year she saw the ocean she yelled at it when it approached her and she said, “NO!” She was quite sure she could command the ocean. That’s my Kira. Last year she wasn’t quite as bold, but she refused to allow it to touch her. She never entered the water but enjoyed hours playing in the sand. Today was the day. She saw the ocean and it drew her. I showed her how I could put one foot forward and wait for the wave to wash over it. She was brave and gave it a try. Then it was two feet in the water. She practiced collecting the water in a pail, and washing her hands in it. It splashed her face and she tasted its salt for the first time. She licked her arms over and over exclaiming YUM! Her long pink tongue against her dark chocolate skin with the beach background took my breath away. Next thing I knew She was in Donny’s arms and they were out in the waves and I could hear her squealing with extreme joy. She was in the full thrust of the discovery of beach bliss, something so precious to my own heart, I could barely breathe for the choked emotion in my throat.
We spent hours in the sand. She arranged for all of her cousins to catch sand crabs for her to collect them in her pail. She never actually had to touch one herself. At three she has everyone working for her already. She pretended to boogie board and knew how a surfer stood on the board. She got her brothers to build her a sand castle. Her cousin Olivia taught her the fun of jumping over waves holding hand in hand. By the end of the beach day she was sitting in the cold water and waiting for waves to wash over her. I don’t know how many times she screamed today. It might be more than all of my boys have ever screamed in their entire lives combined. I knew for sure when we walked back to the house that the ocean and the beach was a part of who she will always be. That’s what it feels like for me. I may not have it in my regular life, it is a special treat, but I need a dose of it like I need oxygen to breathe. She’s fast asleep now as I write. It was a day full of adventure for her. I wonder what she is dreaming about now. I can’t wait to take her back to the beach tomorrow.