The other day as I was sitting in my dilapidated beach chair, knee deep in the ocean, when I was allowed to watch the baptism of a brand-new beach kid. For the past three years, this experience was taken away from me. I hoped I would experience it again and I’m happy to report I did.

The ceremony begins with the arrival of a new family. They are laden down with every type of umbrella, stroller, towel, cooler and beach chair. It’s obvious the family is excited about introducing the newest of themselves to the ocean. The kid, usually one year old, doesn’t have a clue what’s about to happen.

After establishing their tight little territory, the father brings the newest member of his family down to the sea. As he is carrying his baby it looks as though he is explaining where they are going. The child always has a smile on their face because he or she is secure in the knowledge that something new is about the happen.

As soon as the father reaches the water, he stops and decides to bounce his child up and down, attempting to foreshadow the wonderful experience ahead. Every few feet, he stops and begins to have a conversation. The child is always smiling, still secure that he or she is safe.

Back at the shore, the rest of the family watch in apprehension. They’re wondering if their son, daughter, sister or brother will love or hate the ocean. The deeper the father walks into the water, the quieter the others become.

Then the moment of truth arrives. In one quick movement, the father bends his knees and drops the child down into the water.


For the next few moments, the child has to make a decision as to whether or not to become a beach kid.

If a smile appears, it is the beginning of a long love affair with the beach. If a laugh is heard, sand will be eaten, crabs will be discovered and sandcastles with deep moats will be constructed to stop the flow of the tides.

If the arms and hands are waved in excitement, friends will be found while playing on the beach. Lovers will be discovered while floating on rafts. Time in the sun will be the best time of all.

On this occasion, the child’s smile ran from ear to ear, laughter exploding out of his soul as he tried to work his way out of his father’s arms.

Back on the shore, the rest of the family jumped up and down with joy. The brothers and sisters realized they had a new playmate on the beach. They knew a new ally had arrived to pester the parents to get to the beach as many times as possible.

There are many reasons why people yearn to live by the ocean. The serenity, the perpetually fresh ocean breeze and the hypnotic sound of the waves striking the beach overwhelm all other reasons. I love living here for one simple reason: I’m allowed to observe.

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