Though I’ve driven past it several times, I had never actually been to Sandy Beach before today. “Really?” Lynnette said when I told her. “Yeah,” I said. “We used to come here a lot in high school,” she said. “So you could look at boys?” I said. “Yes,” she said, somewhat sarcastically. “Well,” I said. I dropped my voice several steps. “Now you’ve got a boy looking at you.” She scoffed. If you think you’re offended now, wait until tonight, girl.
The impetus for our trip all the way out to Sandy’s was shell gathering. I remembered that my friend Nicole had posted pictures of some pretty prime and/or cherreh shells she collected. When I asked her where she went hunting, she mentioned the tide pools at Sandy’s. When we got out of the car and came into view of the shore break, we arrived just in time to watch it crash into the sand. “I don’t want to go into the water today,” Madison said. I knew that Sandy’s was dangerous, but I had no idea that it would necessitate a lifeguard to tell us to keep Mad above the wet sand line as soon as we got there. “No worry, brah,” I said. “We only stay going down da kine tide pools en den.” I threw up a fat shaka. Okay, I didn’t do any of that. But we did head down to the tide pools and Madison was thrilled to find that rock formations created a mini-beach where she wouldn’t be pummeled.
For the first 30-45 minutes, all Madison wanted to do was play in the water and sand. While it was slightly overcast again today, the clouds were not nearly as stifling as they were during our ill-fated Thursday beach trip. Lynnette, Madison, and I made sand castles, took pictures, caught sand turtles, played in the shallow water. Of course, Madison took up one of her favorite beach pastimes: running from the water while screaming at the top of her lungs. She has some pipes. I feel like she knows this and she likes to show them off. She takes every opportunity to scream. I think she just likes to hear herself scream; this is slightly different from Lynnette who just likes to hear herself talk. Kidding!
Once Madison entered the “mom-I’m-cold” range, Lynnette suggested we put on the reef walkers and actually do some shell hunting. Madison loves the idea of water shoes because Tuck – the turtle from Wonder Pets – wore them all the time. I love them because they allow me to walk on rocks without watching where I’m going. The last time we wore our reef walkers, we went to Shark’s Cove. While Lynnette and I were able to navigate through the shallow water with relative ease, Madison had a difficult time because the water there was deeper and the surface muddier. She loved the tide pools at Sandy’s because they were still and shallow. She stepped into as many of them as she could, got waist deep, then turned to Lynnette and I and smiled or gave us a thumbs-up. I realize she could simply have been peeing, but I’m going to go with true elation as the cause of her shows of happiness.
One of the highlights of the day (and there were many, it was a damn good day) came when Lynnette found a sea cucumber. She spotted it in a tide pool and went into retrieve it. Lynnette held it out to Madison, and to my surprise, Madison took it with both hands. I like to think that The Octonauts, one of Madison’s favorite TV shows, helped to give her the courage to hold it. One of the episodes featured a sea cucumber, and as we all know, any animals in cartoons are presented in such a manner that makes them appear totally harmless. The sea cucumber shot out water as Lynnette held it in her hands. Ever the observant one, Madison shouted “Look, mom, it’s getting bigger! How come?” “Ummm…” Lynnette stammered. “Because,” I interjected, “of your mother’s loving touch. It has that effect,” I said. Lynnette growled and returned the sea cucumber to his tide pool. “What did you say?” Madison said. “Nothing,” I said. “You said something,” Madison continued. “Look! Another tide pool!” I said. And that was that.
As much as I hate to admit it, the Ka’au Crater Boys were on full blast in my head.
Overall, our shell gathering turned out better than I could have imagined. As we headed out towards the tide pools, I took a look at Lynnette stalking in her bikini, Madison a few steps behind us, trying to keep up, then the mountain side, then the ocean. “I imagined my family life would look something like this,” I said out loud. “Oh yeah?” Lynnette said. “…when I was a younger man.” I think what I was trying to say was that while I didn’t exactly imagine being at Sandy Beach walking towards the tide pools to look for shells for our redecorated bathroom, our field trip today had the general feeling of what I had hoped for before I actually had a family of my own. It doesn’t happen often, sadly, but today’s trip was one of those rare occasions when all three of us were focused on the same thing. There was no internet for me to play on, no TV for Mad to watch, no hapa guys for Lynnette to check out. Just the three of us, and that was fine. It was great, better than anything young, skinny Phil could have come up with.