I am going to try to participate in the "Gussy Sews" inspiration workshop each week. She sends out a prompt that we can interpret however we would like. It is a fun way to delve into a little free writing. I used to love this kind of thing in my college English classes.
This week the prompt was . . . BEACH.
The meaning of that very direct noun has changed for me over the past four and a half years. Before I had my son I looked at the beach as a relaxing place to get a tan and people watch for hours on end. I had even been known to take a long walk or two on said beach. I loved the breeze coming off the water and the thousands of shells at my finger-tips. I would have so much fun day-dreaming about my future or reading the newest book I had picked up. All in all, if you would have asked me 4.5 years ago, I would have definitely described the beach as a delightful, relaxing place in which I loved to spend as much time as I could possibly spare.
On April 23, 2007 my description drastically changed. I bore a tiny human being, and all of a sudden I couldn't even think of bringing this little bundle of joy out into the stifling hot sun, not to mention the gritty sand or dirty water. I pretty much boycotted the beach that first summer. Then he became one, and I decided to begin taking him to the beach to "play." He proceeded to eat sand, get pummeled by waves, and pretty much require my constant attention to stay alive.
At that point, my relaxing, delightful place became another playground in the rotation of our weekly outings. A place I went to tire my son out. A place I went to entertain him. Basically, a place for him, not me. I sound bitter, I know (that is the sarcasm), but actually I don't mind. I know that his years of wanting to "play" with me are short. I know that very soon I will go back to going to the beach by myself because he would rather go with his friends. I know that one day I will be taking his kids to the beach. I am holding on to these snapshots for dear life because although the beach has changed . . . it is still very much a happy place.