My kids are super pissed at me right now. I wouldn't let them come along to the beach for the weekend. Just the fact that I made that statement blows my mind. Sounds like a real first world problem, right? But then I had a revelation about "millennials". It baked my noodle - and pretty well done too.
That Guy and I needed to get away- alone and together. There are lots of reasons (Christmas shopping for our kids, mental health vacay, separation from our jobs -so that we can't be reached or called in to help, and so we can have hot monkey sex without the teenagers hearing us. Important stuff, ya'll.) We don't feel we need to give our daughters excuses, so I said- "Nope". When that set off the alarms and a poutfest I decided I must've failed as a parent.
How spoiled do these kids have to be to think that they have the "right" to go to the beach? Just because we CAN go they believe we all MUST go! Well, as it turns out, they're not spoiled, just disappointed. And pretty smart.
My knee jerk reaction is to be mad at them for being mad at me. That's not fair; everybody gets to be mad.
If everybody doesn't get to be mad then nobody gets to be. In families where nobody gets to be mad feelings aren't felt and dysfunction is forced to flourish. In those where only SOME of the members get to be mad, resentment is built, respect is impossible, and rebellion is certain and severe.
So, surfer girls DEFINITELY get to be disappointed that they didn't get to come to the beach. It isn't just luxury; it's medicine. The ocean is a source of healing. If you don't believe that, you've never been.
When I was 19, I hadn't. After my first summer of college I hopped in a pickup and headed for the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. Having grown up in the midwest I hadn't ever been and had no idea what I was missing.
The first time in the water I made the ridiculous statement, "It really does taste like SALT!!" Anyone who hasn't tasted the ocean prior to adulthood will understand the intense salty saltiness cannot be duplicated with table salt. It's it's own thing; warming and comforting and slightly disgusting at the same time. My surfer girls don't understand my naivete of ocean salinity- they have tasted it from their very first summers.
There was another new experience during that trip. I knew the salt water would heal cuts and sores. I'd even worked with a Marine Biologist who'd taught me what he'd learned while working in a coastal area. There are tips and tricks related to marine injuries and treatments of which the rest of us Landlubber medical staff were unawares. That was the sum total of cool information about the ocean I'd been exposed to. While it was impressive and fascinating, it wasn't experiential. Actually seeing the ocean water heal up a cut AMAZED me. Like, stupid about it, showing everyone what it had done in just a day or two. Relentless jabber about salt water like it was "maaaagic".
But it was much more than that. The salt water seemed somehow to soothe something in me that I didn't even know needed soothing. It might have been the waves or the sunshine or the comfort of the tides, whose rhythm I could never quite calculate. Maybe it was the waves, whose sets I couldn't predict no matter how many times I've counted them. Catching and riding waves still escapes me but letting them crash over me seems to work just fine to fix what's broken inside.
I come from a farming family. We are generations of working the earth and the animals and most of us have never seen the ocean. My kids have never worked the earth and wouldn't know a bull from a dairy cow. Trying to explain the seasons or the birthing of a calf or the misery of detasseling corn is a waste of the breath I already can't hold long enough to wait for good sets. Some things have to be felt; experienced.
The ocean; they know.
They know the waves and the tides, marine life and sand in their sandwiches. They are mermaids who recognize the sweep of the wave hitting shore with it's bubbling hiss that fades to a fizzle. They can feel the waves and even surf them. They have something I never had -not because they're spoiled millennials but because we were lucky enough to give them an awesome thing- beach memories. That doesn't mean they get a trip to the shore every time they long for fresh seafood but it doesn't either mean they're entitled or spoiled. It means they're blessed- lucky, fortunate, and tan more of the year than not.