Monday, January 17, 2011
Playing in another world
Delray Beach, FL, December 2010
[Please click here for more far from home Thematic]
We seem to have made it a family habit to go to the beach on the last day of the year. It didn't evolve deliberately. Rather, it's one of those little life events that seem to play out according to an unseen script. We turn around on December 31st and, somehow, we're watching our kids frolic in the surf.
However they got here on this day, it was clear to anyone who saw them that they came from somewhere that may as well be on another planet. While most everyone else hung back from the water because it wasn't quite warm enough, our intrepid kids dove right in and stayed in, afraid to miss so much as an extra minute of playtime in the surf.
Two weeks before I tripped the shutter on this moment, they had been battling snowdrifts that cast shadows above their heads. Playing outside meant pulling on multiple layers of winter clothes, then sitting around the kitchen table when they were done as my wife made them hot chocolate. For the record, there was no hot chocolate in the cooler on this day.
I stood further up the beach watching them play for what seemed like an age. I waited for them to get tired, to slow down, to want to come back to our seats and take a break. Hours later, I was still waiting. I guess all that living in a snowbound land made it that much more urgent for them to cram in as much beach time as they could. Because in just a few hours the year would be over. And not long after that they'd have to head back home.
The hot chocolate, as always, would be waiting for them. Wherever they ever call home, they know mom will never let them down.
Your turn: Rituals of childhood. Got one to share?