We were heading out of Bethany Beach, DE last Sunday after a much needed weekend away -lovingly paid for by my mother who knows what the beach means to me and the family. It was a gorgeous morning and as we headed north towards Rehoboth I was thinking a few things:
1. I was feeling not as relaxed as a weekend away might create. My kids were irritating me. They left a pizza out all night long – the last one to take a piece after Kevin and I said our goodnights didn’t put it away – well there went breakfast. And upon doing my last sweep through the house I found a roll of paper towels in the kids bathroom. I realized there was no toilet paper in the bathroom -so guess what was used as toilet paper for the weekend? Yep the paper towels. No harm done-the toilet still flushed-but I was so frustrated at why this occurred. Why not seek out toilet paper that we always bring to the beach? Why not just ask!? Oh yea-their teens. If I can laugh I can deal-but I wasn’t in a laughing mood on that Sunday. I just was growly at all who surrounded me. I dislike that feeling.
2. I was thinking how Kevin and I need to get away ALONE. And I also know how hard that is but maybe we can make it happen. –soon–
3. As we crossed over that bridge and I was less than relaxed I realized that I hadn’t put my feet in the ocean the whole weekend. I have no idea why I didn’t but it began to bum me out the more I thought about it.
As we came off a bridge that separated Bethany from Dewey and Rehoboth, I said aloud “I didn’t put my feet in the ocean the whole weekend.” And Kevin said “it’s not too late. You can still do that”. What a guy. So he suggested we pull off the road in Dewey Beach and I could put my feet in the water and then we would head off.
So we found a quiet street and parked the car. Dewey Beach is a family beach to a degree but it is also known as a party beach where 20 and 30 something’s flock on weekends to drink and well meet up. It’s been that way for years so at first I was unsure what we might see on the sand. It was after ten in the morning but… The kids jumped out of the car too because they wanted that last touch of the Atlantic.
Over the dune we went and on the other side was beautiful sparkling water and a handful of people on the beach. Mostly there were families and I saw no signs of leftover partiers from the night before. The best part? The DOGS! There were lots of dogs. After September 15, dogs are allowed on the beach. And Dewey likes their dogs! It was so nice.
We walked out to the edge of the shore took off our shoes. I put my feet in the ocean and it was great! Why had I not done this all weekend? I used to be a huge ocean swimmer but as I got older I became less tolerant of cold water and more leery of rough water. I am a very good swimmer I spent years on swim team and in the pool in general. I was the girl you had to pull out of the ocean to go-I never wanted to leave. But over the years I have become a dipper. Toe in -wading to my shins. Then I got cancer and then came the lymphedema and shoulder mobility issues and I realized -darn it- now I can’t swim- at least not in the ocean. I couldn’t save myself in rough waters. That just stinks. I don’t like to feel that vulnerable. Before my omission from ocean swimming had been my choice but now it was a real limitation – something taken away. I didn’t like it. But that wasn’t the reason I didn’t put my feet in the ocean until Sunday morning. I honestly just didn’t feel like it Friday and Saturday. I can’t even explain why. It wasn’t until it was slipping away as we headed home that I realized I felt a loss in not doing so.
When those waves washed over my feet and I stood on that gorgeous beach it was like a perfect moment. The water was just the right temperature, the undertow minimal and not too many waves. My kids were enjoying the water too. I realized I wasn’t as annoyed at them as I had been. I wanted to stay. One kid said something about getting his suit on- next thing I knew we all were taking turns getting changed in the car. I had to dig deep in a mass of stuff to get my suit out of my bag and it was proving hard for my arm but I persisted bc I was staying and I was getting in that water. And not just my toes -all of me- ok well most of me-I needed to be careful still- but i wasn’t going to not go in out of fear.
What transpired was a wonderful 2 hours that finally relaxed my mind. The growly part of me went away for a while. I swam more that day then I had in years (ok I did not swim but I enjoyed waiting for waves and dodging them – and I will swim – really swim- again – it’s on now). My husband and kids swam more that day than they had all weekend. I went into the water much further than my toes. I felt freer than I had felt for weeks. I won’t be a toe in the water lady anymore.
After a couple hours we called it a day. I couldn’t find the sunscreen in the car when I was changing into my suit so that was not good for Kevin and me. My darker kids fared better. We were just the right blend of sandy and toasty.
It was the perfect unexpected morning. We all seemed a little lighter and the world a bit brighter. I’m thankful for that time. Sometimes you just don’t know when something as seemingly insignificant as putting your feet in the ocean will turn into something special.
Thanks for reading.
PS – my husband and I still need that time alone. I’ll be working on that.