Friday, September 30, 2016

The Last Beach Day of Summer

There is this moment.

It happens each year.

I find myself standing there.

Looking out at the blue, blue ocean.

Feet sandy.

Hair blowing in the gentle breeze.

The rhythmic crashing of the waves.

My kids are in front of me, laughing and playing in the water.

Pleasing smells of barbecue are in the air.

My wife sitting on our beach chairs, reading, dozing, sipping wine.

Grandma and grandpa having just left for the evening.

The sun has begun its descent as time ticks down on another day in paradise.

And it hits me hard.

This is the last beach day of the summer.

Where has the time gone?

Just weeks before, summer announced its presence.

We were free.

Days upon days upon days we lounged around in the morning.

No rush, nowhere to run off to, no plan.

Then we'd snap into action and pack the picnic basket, grab our suits and hit the beach.

We spent our days swimming, paddling, and building castles.

Skipping rocks, throwing frisbees and playing games.

Not a care in the world.

Everyone is just happy.

As much as I live in the present, I find myself thinking of the past.

Summers are jammed full of moments of deja vu.

It's like we've been here before, in these exact spots, doing these things together.

Only this time our little kids are older and bigger.

"We aren't little anymore," they correct me.

I just want to stay in this moment and ignore reality for a bit longer.

Forever, in fact.

I don't want there to be an end to this, but it will end.

Moments are fleeting.

I know that.

The sunset creeps on us as the weeks go by.

Earlier and earlier it gets darker and darker.

A chill enters the air in the evenings that we haven't felt in a long time.

Autumn is on the horizon.

I'm sad.

Full of melancholy and ice cream.

I'll miss this, this time together.

So much.

With the end of summer, comes long, busy, exhausting days.

Always tired, always rushing, always aware of the time.

Homework to do, things to practice, lessons, and shopping and bells ringing and cars honking.

So little time to just sit.

Or stand in one spot and breathe.

Feet in the sand.

Sun on my back.

We will be reduced to ships passing in the night.

Or some other cliched expression directly implying that we never see each other even though we do.

As I stand there on the beach, on this final day with the seconds ticking down until the final gasp, I don't want to leave.

Leaving means the end.

"'Til next year," a fellow parent calls as they exit.

He's right.

But, I often feel like I'm on borrowed time.

Next year, the kids will be bigger and older.

At some point they won't want to spend their summers dancing in the waves, jumping off the dock, hanging out with their dad.

At some point I'll be older too.

We all will.

And I won't have the still youthful, go go energy on these long days that I feel defines me.

These days will be but memories of those days when the kids were young.

Those amazing, summer days at the beach.

Those days that we felt would never end.

And that one day.

When I stood there, surrounded by my family, enjoying all that was around me, just not wanting to let go.

That final day of the summer.