It’s amazing how having children can completely open ones eyes to something that had been taken for granted before. I realised this as my partner, the girls and I splashed our feet about in the sea over the weekend on our visit to the grandparents.
My partner’s parents live very near to the beach and for the last 12 years we’ve gone down to visit them about one weekend a month. However, in that whole time I never really made the most of being so close to the sea. I could probably count the times I’ve been down to the beach on both hands. Which is ridiculous really now that I think about it.
Since the girls arrived we’ve made much more of an effort to go down to the beach each time we visit. The sea air does something to the girls which is wonderful to watch – they come alive, their appetites grow and they sleep so soundly at night, usually waking a whole half-hour later than the crack-of-dawn they usually do! It’s beautiful to watch them scrambling across the pebbles looking for shells, building sand-castles or seeing their confidence grow when splashing about in the sea.
Having lived in London all my life, and with the beach only ever a very occasional treat for me growing up, it’s lovely to think that the girls will grow up experiencing both city and coastal life. I love the idea that they’ll try things that I never have. Maybe they’ll learn to windsurf or sail, both of which seem so alien to my resolutely urban self. I love the fact that they will experience a slower, cleaner, greener existence to counter-balance the faster pace of city life.
Thinking about all of this has made me realise it’s also an opportunity for me to experience something new too. I spend a weekend a month by the sea, I need to make the most of it. I’ve resolved to bring my running gear with me on our monthly visits from now on, so that I can go running along the beach in the early mornings – something I’ve always wanted to do; and weather permitting I’m going to have a proper swim in the sea. Well at least once a year anyway.