27 October 2006
October on the Beach
I grew up on the ocean. My father's family moved to my hometown when he was a teenager, I think, and he and my mother moved back to my hometown when I was three. Even though I left to go to college and never really moved back, and even though I've not been back to my hometown all that much in recent years, the ocean is the place I feel at home. So it was with a sad heart that Curious Girl and I traveled back to my hometown last week, for one last weekend there before my parents move to Massachusetts, to live near my sister.
Curious Girl desperately wanted to put her toes in the ocean. None too surprisingly, putting her toes in the ocean turned into putting her calves in, too, and then once the bottom of her pants got wet there was little reason to worry about the tops getting wet, too. We walked a lot on the beach, we picked up shells, and Curious Girl made up stories about them. "Look! little baby shells! We have to take them home, they're babies, they have no family." I love watching her run on the beach, the same beach I ran on when I was four. We don't have a lot of family traditions in our small and scattered family, and I liked seeing CG in the same place I was, once.
My parents are in their early 80s, and in quite good health. They're active. They're moving, as my dad says, while they still can make their own choices. And I know this is a good thing. Politica's father has been in declining health for several years and it's been hard for us to be so far away from him; it was hard to see him living alone past the point we thought he was really on top of his own needs. My parents will be moving quite close to my sister, and they'll be moving when they're able to make new friends. Rationally, I think it's a great move. But my needy inner child thinks "Ack! They love her more than me!" I'll get over that, I know.
But I'm really going to miss that ocean. I grew up a block from the bay, 8 blocks from the ocean. My grandmother ended up living in an apartment right on the beach, and my parents moved into that apartment after she died. So for the past 10 years they've been living right on the boardwalk, with a terrace and a den that overlooked the ocean. We could see the barges headed for New York's ports, we could see the waves breaking on the jetties, we could see the water changing color, the surfers out in all kinds of weather. It was a great place to grow up. And I'll miss it.