Austria is a landlocked country. I’ve never even lived in a landlocked state before, so this is a strange concept for me. Growing up, we went to the beach every summer. When I was little, my grandmother had a place in Ocean City, Maryland, and then when we got older, we’d go to the Outer Banks in North Carolina or to Cape May in New Jersey. As an adult, I’ve been to Cancun, the Bahamas, Hawaii and Florida, in addition to trips back to Ocean City. The beach is regular fixture in my summers, and occasionally even in my falls, winters and springs. It’s an important part of my childhood memories, and a love that is shared with my entire family. Only a few years of my life have passed without a trip to the beach, and nearly all of those were for specific reasons (we didn’t go the summer that B was born, for example).
I haven’t been to the beach since May of 2010, and it’s starting to bug me that we can’t just get in the car and go. Getting to the beach from here would be expensive, and it would be a major undertaking. Not impossible, by any means, but it’s just not what we’re planning on focusing our European vacation travel on: we have beaches at home, but we don’t have Paris, London, Rome and Bavaria at home. I’ve been itching to go, though. I miss the ocean, the sand, the breezes. If we’d been at home, we would have taken Liam to the beach for the first time this summer. He’d probably hate it, because it would severely limit his mobility, but we’d take him anyway. I know he’ll love it once he’s bigger — he’s bold and fearless, so he’ll probably stress me out completely in and near the water forever, but I know he’ll be ready to jump in the waves, if only to follow his big brother.
Benjamin wants to go to the beach, too. He’s been three times (I think?). The first time he was pretty ambivalent: not thrilled about the sand, mostly, although he kind of liked the water. The second time he was distinctly more interested, and the third time, he loved it. That third time, we went in May, and the water was way too cold for me (even though I was 5 months pregnant and everything felt hot). Benjamin and Dan got in the water, though, and played in the waves. After that, they got out and B tried to bury Dan in the sand. He was enthusiastic about going down to the water even when it was raining, chilly and foggy. Benjamin has definitely learned or inherited the love that both Dan & I have for the beach and the ocean.
It’s hard for me to tell him we’re not going this year. He wants to play in the sand and in the ocean. We read stories about the beach, or he sees it in a cartoon, and he asks when we’re going. I think, one way or the other, we’re going to have to make sure we go next summer — I don’t think either of us can hold off another year.