This past weekend we took our annual mini-vacation to Houston/Galveston. We started this tradition a year ago, when I became obsessed with the idea of taking Grayson to the beach for the very first time. Let me tell you how last year’s trip went. Obviously the three of us had fun. But the beach was not so much a hit with my then almost one-and-a-half year old. He looked so cute in his orange tank top and shark swimmies with little gold fish. But he absolutely refused to embrace the wonder that is the sea.
Grayson cried, clung to us, and tucked his legs up every time one of us attempted to set him down in the water. He whimpered and cried as though fearful for his life. He finally came around and lightened up a bit. But not a moment before we brought him further up on the beach to build sand castles (and watch as he gleefully knocked each one down).
A few weeks ago, Paul and I decided we definitely wanted to make this trip an annual event. Despite how poorly Grayson’s first trip to the beach had gone. Honestly, I was more worried about this year’s trip than last year’s. At almost two and a half now, he is oddly fearful at unexpected moments. He’s begun to perceive the world as strange, mysterious, and even scary at times. I was almost sure he’d take one look at the ocean and hate it even more than last year.
So in the week leading up to the trip, I took every chance I got to talk up our journey and try and get him excited about where we were going and what we’d be doing. That’s one of my favourite things about the age he is right now: he’s so communicative, so smart, so responsive. We talk about all the things. And so we talked about Houston. Going to the aquarium (he’s obsessed with fish). We talked about eating mac and cheese the day we arrived. And I told him all about the beach and how much fun we’d have there.
By the time we got to Galveston, Grayson was PUMPED. “Mommy, I go to the beach? Mommy, where is the beach?” When I pointed out the ocean to him from the car the first chance I got, he exclaimed, “WATER!!” We exited the car and I practically had to restrain him from jumping over the seawall to get to the shore. The entire way down the seawall steps, he repeated, “Go in the water. Go in the water.” And once we got onto the soft, powdery sand he all but made a run for it.
No hesitation, no fear. I could hardly contain how proud I was of his fearlessness. He walked straight into the ocean, and the joy on his face when he felt the salt water hit him is something I’ll treasure forever.
The thrill of the water continued to call to him. We stayed at the beach for over two hours, when we had assumed we’d only be there for half an hour.
Grayson, I am so proud of you for putting your fear and worry aside this year and embracing adventure, joy, and the thrill of natural wonders. Even when the waves knocked you down, you continued to run back into them again and again. This day at the beach was everything I wanted it to be for you. And these memories will be dear to me until you’re old enough to take kids to the beach someday, and even after that.
Thank you for being this perfect little person. You amaze and confuse and entertain me every day. I am loving watching you turn into the person you are, and the person you’re going to be.