Greetings from North Wildwood! No matter what we do, we always seem to arrive in Wildwood late in the day, in spite of our best efforts. And, in doing so, we have settled into a ritual that has become almost sacred for Andrea and I.
For the past three years, we have been coming to the same hotel-turned-condo, a stone’s throw from the beach in North Wildwood. The year before that, we went to a similar condo. In each year, we have done basically the same thing. As I mentioned, we arrived late on Saturday afternoon and would quickly get the car unpacked. We would then get everything sorted out to their appropriate places and settled in the condo. We would then take the boys down to the beach for a walk as the sun was getting low in the sky and most people are venturing off the beach for maybe only a total of a half hour. It is amazing how absolutely magical that half how. At times, I feel like I look forward to that moment for the whole year.
The first year, Ben was in shorts and a t-shirt while Matthew was barely walking and still in a diaper. Ben was brave (and scared us a little) walking out into the waves and smiling as wide as the ocean itself as he got knocked around by the smaller waves. I held Matthews hands and let him kick his feet in the water as his diaper got bigger and bigger, absorbing the seas. The following year, Benjamin and Matthew stayed close to us, but ventured into the low waves and splashed around. Last year, both of them were very scared of the waves, but we ventured into and explored the tidal pools and learned a lot.
Today, the both of them were so excited to be on the beach again, that they ran off into the tidal pools and then into the waves. Both of them were so brave and Benjamin had to practically be dragged back to shore as he jumped over waves and yelled at the ocean, practically challenging it. When a wave knocked him over, he had that same wide grin as he did a few years ago. The first year, they were initially tentative going into the water and when they did, we needed to stay close and hold their hands. Today, I felt more live a spectator, rather than a participant in their games. It truly moved me.
As I stood in the tidal pool tonight, it was almost as if I could feel the ocean pulling the stress from me. I could feel my shoulder easing and my heart getting lighter. While I went on vacation with my family earlier this summer and had a great time, there is something about this annual trip to the Jersey shore that just melts the day away. I watched the boys play and splash and laugh. It just makes me so happy. I feel like I am truly connecting with my boys and Andrea in such a spiritual way in the tidal pools. It amazes me.
One of the interesting side notes, it has been really interesting to see the changes in what we have had to pack. The first year was a portable crib, strollers, a wagon and assorted baby paraphernalia. It is so different this year. It is amazing how much things change from year to year.