For the most part, I'm not a big enjoyer of The Beach. This should not be surprising to those who know me nowadays, considering that I am a Very Pale Person. As in, SPF 50+ reapplied constantly. To me, a large, spread-out location with no shade in sight and grainy bits to get into all the food is more of a punishment than a recreation activity.
BUT, in my heart, there is something very nostalgic for me about being at the beach. Until I was five years old, we lived in Israel. Nearly every single day during those years, once my father left for work and my older brothers were off to school, my mother and I would take the bus from our apartment in Givatayim to the beach in Tel Aviv. Sunblocked and hatted, the beach was my daily activity. We would spend the morning there and then hurry home, stopping for a Capri Sun-type drink on the way and getting back before the end of my brothers' short, Israeli school day.
Thankfully, my mother was quite vigilant about my skin even in those years, though I definitely sported a more golden, outdoorsy appearance. I should try to find and scan some pictures from those years. My hair hadn't turned red yet at that age - instead I had two long, blond braids, usually wrapped around my head in a bit of a Scandinavian style. Not a very common look in Israel (this is before the majority of the Russian influx!), and almost hard to believe, considering my own kids and their, shall we say, minimal hair.
Although going to the beach these days is much less fun than it was during those carefree years, I guess that in some ways at my core I am a bit of a beach person. I am also a beach kill-joy, uttering phrases like "Sun Damage!" as extended family and friends show an interest in tanning. And on the rare occasions I'm actually at a beach, I do always feel very, very, very dressed. And definitely not four years old anymore. Sigh.
Until I find some way to reconcile my varied selves regarding the beach, there is a great deal of pleasure in taking the kids to the beach, like I did with my mother and aunt a couple of times last summer.
And when the weather is warming up but not quite there yet, there's always a day at RaggedyBeach. Ann had the terrific idea today that we should dress up for the beach at home. I was thankfully exempt from participating except for as a coordinator. But the little Raggedys got into bathing suits, swim shoes, sun hats, and spread themselves out onto blankets. There was a round of beach tennis and a snack. And no sand in the car.