Tempting the Ocean

In June, I was on vacation with my family. There is one scene I recall and thought I’d share. Sitting on the beach outside our resort with my wife, the sun was setting and the sky was ablaze with shades of the blue east to the crimson west. My daughter was on the edge of the shore racing against the waves. Tempting them by running out on the low pull and trying to outrun the salty ocean breaks back to the crest of the sand hill as they push up just far enough to send fits of nervous laughter into the air.

Likewise, I noticed a seagull in the air doing its own version of tempting the ocean. Soaring high into the sea breeze then swooping down to just a foot above the surface and the feathers of its wings scraping the water for less than a second before arching back into the sky. I couldn’t help but notice the similarity.

It wasn’t until yesterday, my mind started connecting the moments to what was happening currently. My daughter had her Freshman orientation and that scene from the Mexican beach came back to me. The joyful laughter of outrunning the ocean mixed with the tempting fate of trying to let the waves engulf her. If life is the ocean, she is indeed starting to tempt breaching the shore and diving in.

My years with her staying under my roof, under my guidance and protection are starting to fade like the light at sunset. The harsh days of adjusting to popularity and groups of new friends. The path of finding more of herself and who she is approaches each day and I feel like in the next four years, the time will breeze by. I hope I have been enough of a father to teach her how to stay true to herself when it matters and protect herself when it doesn’t.

There is a sting when I look at her growing more beautiful each day, more of an adult every day. Her mistakes make me thankful somewhere inside because it means she is still needing help, needing me. I smile beneath the pain, knowing she’ll be just fine. Her mistakes without me will help teach her how to be strong and how to overcome, I just want to make sure she’s ready for those waves when they pull her out. I’m happy with her staying on the beach for as long as I can.

Think back to moments in your childhood, adulthood. How many moments have you been on the beach, preparing to run for the ocean?

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