Today I took the day off of work, sent Jane to daycare, and went to the beach. Alone. It was the best thing I've done for myself in a year.
I used to go to the beach by myself all the time. It's one of my favorite things to do in the summer, but I haven't done it at least two years, three, actually. And I didn't think I'd do it this summer, but I realized last week that I desperately needed a day off - a true day off from everything and everyone - and was able to take today.
It was awesome. I sat there on my blanket, looked at the water (lots of jellyfish today), read nearly an entire book (You've Been Warned by James Patterson), ate some bad-for-you food, watched families play in the sand and water, and got some color. Then I went to downtown Madison, bought a book at R.J. Julia, got an iced mocha, sat on a bench and read some more.
I love the beach. When I was very young, we used to have a boat, and would go out every Sunday. Then later, we used to rent a cottage for a week every summer. It was nothing fancy, but the source of some of my best childhood memories -heading to the beach first thing in the morning with my dad and brother, tromping back to the cottage at lunchtime to eat quickly so we could go back in the water, strolling to the lemon ice stand every afternoon for a treat, buying cheap little trinkets that seemed like gold to a child.
I don't know if it's because I have Jane, but I noticed so many young kids at the beach today. Babies Jane's age too - one 18-month-old decided to come over and stand on my blanket (that was the only conversation I had - I asked her grandmother how old she was (the baby, not the grandmother)). Watching all of the kids having fun made me so excited about the prospect of Jane coming to the beach and loving it as much as I did - and still do. It will be great to see everything from her perspective, where the sign of a great day is a ton of sand stuck in your bathing suit, a sticky face from ice cream, and total exhaustion brought on from hours of sunlight.