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At the Beach

DSC00876I hold her hand tightly.  She tiptoes along the dry sand and then onto the wet, just washed sand.  Together, my two-year-old Grand and I stand as the ocean water laps our toes.  Elaine wiggles her hand out of my grasp and marches toward the breaking waves.  She stops when the white water covers her ankles.  “Let me hold you hand,” I say.  “We’ll jump the waves.”  I covered her hand with mine.  She looks up at me, jerks her hand away, and shouts,  “No, Gran!”  The next wave is bigger and stronger.  She flings her arms out to maintain balance.  My hand on her shoulder gives support.  The water retreats.  She turns and runs to her mother who is standing on dry sand.  Mother lifts Elaine into her arms and Elaine burrows her head in Mother’s shoulder.  “Are you okay?”  Mother asks.  Elaine sniffs and says, “The water fall me.”

I carry my young Grand perched on my hip and walk along the seashore.  Just where the water surges onto the sand.  “Ah, Elaine, the water tickles my toes,” I tell her.  She lays her head on my shoulder.  “Tickle, tickle, tickle,” I chant,  “Oh, my toes are wet.”  She jerks her head up and leans her body to see my toes.  “Tickle, tickle, tickle,” I say.  She wiggles and slides down my leg.  Her toes touch the water.  She stands still; her body rigid as she watches the salt water cover our feet.  She grabs for my hand and clutches my finger.  “Tickle, tickle, tickle.  Our toes are wet,” I say.  Together, we stand and let the water lap our toes.  I pat my foot and the water splashes onto her knees.  She stomps.  “The water tickles your knees,” I say.  She stomps, again and again.

Elaine and I hold hands and walk on the dry beach.  “Shell, Gran!” she shouts.  She picks up a tiny broken white shell and runs to me.  “Hold it!”  I open my hand and she lays her treasure onto my palm.  “Hold it tight!”  She runs a few yards, stops, and gathers the shell fragments around her feet.  Her small hands are full.  “More shells,” she says as she unfolds her fingers and drops her shells into my hands.  It was a short walk in distance – maybe twenty feet.  A long discovery walk.  Shells of all colors.  White, brown, black and all sizes, but no whole and unbroken seashells. Yet each a treasure in Elaine’s tight fists.

I rest, reclined under a beach umbrella, and Elaine sits in my lap.  We watch her brother and sisters and parents and Pop swim and play in the ocean.  Pop and Elaine’s older sister are jumping waves; Pop lifts Elaine’s sister high as each roaring wave breaks under her feet.  “What they doing, Gran?”  Elaine asks.  “Jumping waves.  Can you hear your sister laughing?”  I say.  Elaine nods and stares at her sister and Pop.  “Gran?”  she says.  “I wanna’ jump.”

I stand beside Pop and lift Elaine as he lifts her sister.  The white water splashes her feet.  “Higher!  Gran!  Jump higher!”  Elaine shouts.  She grips my hands and stands knee deep in the water, waiting for the next wave.

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