A path leads through the woods, to a place where all of my children learned to splash, then wade, then paddle like mer-people.
This mama has walked this path alone, then carting a baby, then pregnant with a toddler in tow. The light begins to glimmer as we near the end of the path, then flashes off the water that greets us as we emerge from the trees.
There's a dance of glee when we are the first to arrive here, and have our pick of beach spots.
This boy stays in the water till he's wrinkled and shivering, going out where the water is deep enough for us to call, "Come back!" I thrill to see him taking to water, as he was a toddler who didn't want to splash or wade. Faith and patience brought us here, to a day where we have to coax him out of the water with watermelon.
The day before Violet was born, I walked these paths with my little son, showing him toads and the stools they sit on. Later in the day, I bared my belly to the sun and felt peace wash over me as I whispered a prayer for this new child that would soon join us. Two weeks later, we returned with our newborn daughter, and my husband lost his wedding band when he shook the sand off the old quilt. Now, she's our little Nut Brown Maid, in and out of the water like a selkie.
Days at the beach aren't so busy these days, and I can get a bit of knitting done as everyone plays,
At this place, there are no chores to be done, no phone ringing, and no toys to fight over. There are rocks to climb on, sand to build with, logs to float on, driftwood to improvise with. Friendships grow and are forged by sunlight and water.
These are the days they will remember. I remember every moment, too.