We go to the beach a lot more than we used to, both because we have a season pass for the beach at Jacob Riis now, and because Kina is more obsessed with the beach—and with swimming—than either of her parents are. So, yesterday, off to the stretch of sand east of Coney Island and west of the rest of the Rockaways, where we found an expanse of gentle waves in which to frolic.
One hour later, it was pure oceanic mayhem. Amateur swimmers being tossed in four-foot waves, the shore eroding under the force of an advancing tide, errant caps and sand toys everywhere. Just one month ago, I wrote here about losing my sunglasses in heavy waves at the very same beach. I did not detail how Laurea scolded me that day for wearing my sunglasses in the ocean, and how I ought to have thought about the possibility that one of the most powerful forces in nature might swipe my shades. My, how the tables turn.
Laurea and Kina, soaked to the bone, returned from the water to our beach tent, exhausted and laughing. Kina told a thrilling story about how they had survived being clobbered by a wave, and that Mommy’s own sunglasses, a pair of deadstock 90’s goldenrod Paloma Picasso frames that she had worn into the surf—despite my explicit warning not to—had been lost to the sea. This is not a roundabout way of telling Laurea “I told you so”; I am just telling all of you not to wear sunglasses into the ocean when the tide is high, and to learn from our many optical mistakes.
Anyhow, Kina was definitely more cautious near the waves after that—as, to be clear, I would want her to be—and needed to be sure that we were being very careful near the water. She was watching full-grown adults get knocked over by the breaking waves, but she couldn’t distinguish between their lack of sense and our safer approach to standing high on the sand and letting the foam wash over our feet; Kina insisted on staying far from even a hint of seawater. We were sitting right next to the lifeguard station, and so Laurea and I encouraged Kina to talk to the highly trained teens who were tasked with our safety. “Is the water safe here?” she yelled up to them from where the water stopped. They looked back down at her and said, “You’re going to be okay. We’ll watch you and take care of you.”
That seemed to help a bit, and soon Kina was letting me rinse her legs off in the surf. Somewhere under her butt, at a radius of ten feet or so, were Laurea’s sunglasses. Kina learned about the ocean, we all left with our lungs full of salt air, nobody got sunburned, and Kina talked about the trip all day today. A perfect trip.