So while I was out having a great time with my daughters jumping waves and swimming this summer, I couldn't stop thinking about that sand shark, especially since we were in roughly the same amount of water. The three-year-old is just over 30 pounds herself, and when you think about it, her body is a lot like a shark's: mostly muscle from constant movement. Strangely enough, thinking about how similar the two creatures are calmed my anxiety-at least it would be a fair fight, I reckoned. "Wouldn't It Be Nice" to get ready for some summer splashing-and napping-with Lullaby Renditions of The Beach Boys? When the "Surf's Up," and you're heading out to enjoy "The Warmth of the Sun," take Rockabye Baby tunes with you.
I am so happy my kids love the beach as much as I do. I grew up on the North Carolina coast and to me summer isn't the same without salt water, fresh peaches, and a steady supply of calamine lotion. We just spent a week staying with my sister-in-law and her family there and it was pure heaven with lots of sunshine, swimming and perhaps the most relaxing thing: free childcare. But having kids has changed my comfort level with the ocean. Now I have two little people to keep my eyes on instead of looking out in wonder for dolphins or sunsets. I stay in the shallows rather than swim out past the wave breaks, holding little hands while the bodies beneath them bend and sway with the tide pull. I also spend far more time playing in the sand: building drip castles, burying seashells, digging for clams and dropped goldfish crackers. And now I patrol the water for sharks. I hate to admit this because I've always thought people who worried about sharks were idiots. They struck me as the worst kind of worrywarts, ones who are willing to sacrifice one of the greatest pleasures of life-swimming in the ocean-for fear of an event that was as likely as getting struck by lightning. But a couple of years before I had my oldest daughter, I was hanging out on a dock where some old salts were fishing. One of them let me reel in his catch, which wound up being a 30-pound sand shark. Reeling it in took every bit of strength I had (I was sore for days after) and I will never forget what 30 pounds of sheer muscle feels like. The most remarkable thing about the catch though was that the shark was, at the time he got caught, swimming in only about two feet of water. In fact, he was right near where I'd been walking around earlier that day, searching for sand dollars.