Some of my most prominent memories are back-dropped by the sand and waves - the first time I skipped school, the time Daddy's boat almost sunk (with us in it, nonetheless), teenage crushes and first dates - and my soul awakes at the smell of salty air.
When I left eastern North Carolina to go to college, it was easy to continue to refer to this heavenly place as "home". I would go home every few weekends. I talked about home. I still felt very much connected to home.
But once I moved to Raleigh after graduation - and got engaged to, then married, Jeramie - calling the beach "home" became a little more difficult. Slowly but surely, and as much as I didn't like it at first, Raleigh was becoming our home.
I specifically remember buying our first house - the house we live in today - and programing our new home phone number into my cell phone. Up until that point, for as long as I'd had a cell phone, Mama and Daddy's number had always been listed as "Home".
I was in quite the predicatment.
There I sat, up to my ears in newly acquired debt, and I was most bothered by this change I needed to make in my phone. Eventually, "Home" became "Mama and Daddy" and the number I would dial to hear Jeramie's voice on the other end became "Home".
While I love Raleigh now, and the life we're creating here, I very much miss the setting of my childhood. When Ethan was born I was determined that he, too, would be a lover of all things "beach" and that even though it's no longer in my backyard, he would come to know this special place.
For various reasons, we hadn't been able to take Ethan to the beach in these first few years of his life. There were either health problems or financial problems or scheduling problems - but something always interfered with our plans.
We were already planning a trip to the coast to celebrate a very special friend of mine, and the stars aligned perfectly for me to introduce our boy to the ocean.
And what an introduction it was.
Watching Ethan explore everything the beach had to offer was magical. I know that sounds all "rainbows and unicorns", but there's really no other word that comes to mind. I wanted so badly for him to love it, and he did. And that did wonders for this Mama's soul.
I know this is going to shock you [sarcasm] - but I cried. Standing there, with my feet in the Atlantic Ocean, I watched Ethan run and jump and splash and fall in the water and I looked at Jeramie and said, "I'm about to ugly cry right here in the ocean."
I held back the ugly, but I couldn't stop the tears.
My heart will always be at home on the beach and, as of Sunday, it has even more to love about such a special place.
|Like father, like son.|
|Those seashells to decorate the sand castle? All Ethan's idea.|
|Kure Beach, North Carolina - September 16th, 2012|