we went to the beach this weekend, because, y'know, we live in san diego and isn't that what we're supposed to do on the weekends? actually, we love the beach. i grew up in manhattan beach, just outside of l.a., and the beach is just what we did. all summer, every summer, all day, every day, literally. our neighborhood rule was that every kid had to complete two years of junior lifeguards before we were allowed to go to the beach by ourselves. and as we got older, different streets were the "cool" streets to hang out at. like, when i was in 7th & 8th grades, it was all about 8th street. all the buddies would meet there every morning and we'd just hang out ALL DAY. i remember scrounging up $2.00 in coins for lunch each morning because every day around noon we'd drag our sandy, shoeless little bodies up a couple blocks to el sombrero. we'd linger through the high heat of the noontime sun (or until areg gently nudged us out the door) and then we'd head back down to the sand at 8th street. the boys surfed, us girls bodysurfed, and late in the afternoon, we'd walk home. i love the beach.
j went to the beach as a kid too, but growing up in chico, CA, getting to the beach took some doing. when he moved down to san diego, though, it was on. when we were first dating, i bought him a pair of rainbow flip-flops, you know, because we lived in mission beach and i felt like he HAD to have some. he's gone through about 10 different surfboards since we met and now he can't wait to get a surf in whenever possible. he's at the beach more than i am. fortunately for both of us, f has apparently inherited our love for the ocean because seriously? she can't get enough. she's in the water as soon as we get there and then is never ready to leave. she runs to the water and then prances through the waves. prances, no joke! i can't think of a better word to describe her joyful little jumpy gait out there in the whitewash. and i just feel like saying "thank you, lord baby jesus, lying there in your little ghost manger, looking at your baby einstein developmental videos, learning about shapes and colors... thank you that f likes the beach and the ocean. not only is it fun and beautiful, but it's FREE."
so, we went to the beach this weekend. f's latest love is her boogie board that uncle bob just gave her: it's a yellow hand-me-down, just her size (meaning her whole body fits on top) and it has already gotten a lot of love. we had no sooner set up our creek chairs when she'd dragged her auntie j out with her, and off she went, catching waves and pearling and popping up to ask for more. j and i sat on the sand and watched them, cracking up. after auntie got tired, they came in and f asked me to take her back out, so i did. we were out there for a while and then j came out to take over. again, i found myself sitting on the sand watching f tear it up. she's so light on the boogie board that she spins around on the waves, ending up riding the wave in backwards or kinda sideways, and she just hangs on for dear life, ginning the whole time. after a few rides, j would just pick her and the board up together - he'd just lift it up with f still on it, walk her back out a bit, and reset her, ready for the next little ankle-slapper. it was awesome and it gave me that warm-mama-belly feeling - just that pure parent joy i'm learning about, when your kid is doing something that just tickles you, you know? gah. so good.
it was a great day at the beach, and all was well. we went home, i showered off, we started dinner. j went in to hose off too. but after about 15 minutes, while f was sitting at the counter eating an omelette (we've been watching "ratatouille" lately) j came walking towards the kitchen with a shocked look on his face, holding his left hand up and out at me. "BABY," he said. my heart did a little jump and my stomach seized up a little as i looked hard for the blood. because j has a history of some gnarly, bloody injuries, so that's what the sound of his voice + the look on his face had me ready for. "WHAT?!?" i said. "my ring," he said. "it's gone."
his ring. at first, i felt relief - relief that i didn't need to pack up f and rush him to an emergency room. and then, the sadness started to kick in... and then? it stopped. i was sorta surprised by that, that i didn't freak out or get really really sad, but i didn't. j felt terrible, and we just didn't really know what to say to each other for a little while. i knew he didn't mean for it to happen, and i knew he felt badly about it... and it just felt like there wasn't much to be said. he usually takes it off to surf, because the cold water makes everything (ahem) shrink. that day was the day he'd forgotten to take it off. and now, it's gone.
10 minutes later, he was online looking at titanium wedding bands. and here, two days later, i still feel the same mix of sadness and ok-about-it-all-ness. it's true, this is the ring i had engraved for him, that i put on his finger seven years ago at our wedding, the ring he wore as he patted my belly when we were pregnant, the ring he wore when he held a still-wet f for the first time that cold january night. but we're still married, we're still good, he didn't need stitches - it could be a lot worse. i'll miss that ring, and i think he will too. but life is good - we have each other, we've got our girl f, and our girl f loves the beach. i'm pretty sure we're going to be ok.