Saturday, July 22, 2006

Building sandcastles

This afternoon as I sit here on the beach, sand sifting between my purple polished toes, I am watching as the sandcastle that is so diligently being built by a young father and his children continues to wash away a little at a time. Yet, it seems to matter not to them. They dig the trench around it deeper, and pile large buckets of sand onto it in order to shore it up; squeals of laughter from the children and smiles from their father, neither caring that the waves steals bits of their ocean front home with each roll onto shore.

Sitting on my borrowed sand chair, I watch three, thirty-something father’s play with their young children. One holds his daughter who looks no more that four on a Boogie board as it skates around atop the small waves that curl near the shore line. Little boys, also with Boogie boards run out to meet these waves and ride them back onto the beach, future reflections of the older men who are playing with them now, and I wonder… do my children feel about their *not so long ago* childhoods? Just the other day my daughter declared that she does not think she like’s being an adult and I felt a sense of relief after hearing that.

I’ve been wondering lately if my children missed that they didn’t have parents who “played” with them. Sure, we had fun from time to time, but most of what I remember was tinged by stress, those foreboding feelings that always existed for me as an adult. If I could go back and rewrite any part of my life and theirs, this is the part I would rewrite….the childhood of my children. I would go back and try to have more fun with them, not letting those adult stresses that I felt so acutely in the past, impact on them, or at least trying not too. Yet given the fact that my daughter would like to go back to her childhood, maybe my stress didn’t affect her or her brother as much as I fear that it did.

Do my children remember their childhoods with fondness? Perhaps they do. Erin could not wait to grow up and become an adult and do the things that adults get to do. And here is she, now an adult, wishing to be a child again.

I’m hoping to be in a position to one day have fun with my children, even if they are grown. To do some of the things I would like to have done with them when they were young, but that for reasons beyond my control and theirs, we did not. To one day be able to take them on a great vacation and have fun with them, free of the worry about what shoe might possibly drop next.

Erin’s desire to go back to that place and time gives me hope that both she and her brother did have childhoods that they will cherish as they grow older. Maybe it’s the *mother guilt* that I suffer periodically from that colors my perception of what their childhood was like?

For now I’m just going to enjoy watching these young men playing with their children and hope that one day, my adult children will be on a beach somewhere, playing with theirs, and that their children…my grandchildren, will have a grandmother who has learned how to laugh and have fun and play. (Let me just add here though, I am not in any rush to become a grandmother!)

1 comment:

Patty said...

Are you being to hard on yourself about your childrens childhood happiness? From an observer, over the years, I have seen many smiles and giggles from them.