Monday, June 19, 2017

The Young Girl and the Sea

I took the kids to the beach the other day while we were staying at my parents' house. This was the first time Georgia had been there as a cognizant, communicative toddler. She seems to have a complicated relationship with the ocean. She wanted to be near it, but always held above it. The closest she would get would be to have me lean down so she could dip her fingers in while the rest of her clung, koala-style, to any part of my body she could touch. She was afraid of the water, but wouldn't retreat from it.

I had both kids by myself so for a while I was focused on watching Leo jump the waves on my right side while holding Georgia in my left arm. Then I heard her shouting and turned her way. I saw my girl bathed in sunshine, sparkly purple sunglasses sliding down a nose white with sunscreen, golden curls being tossed by the wind, and yelling at the ocean like an old lady on her porch telling kids to get off her lawn.

At the top of her lungs she shouted "GO! GO! GO AWAY," while making a shoo-ing motion with her hand.

At first I laughed and told her that, unlike any adults she has encountered in her life so far, the sea would not bow to her every command. Then the more I thought about it, the more I realized - YES, this who I want her to be. This is who I hope she grows into with poise and confidence; someone who encounters something that frightens them and doesn't run away. I've always wanted he
r to be strong and smart and brave, but this moment really crystalized the shape of those dreams I have for her. May she always be the girl who faces her fears, who stands up to bullies, who refuses to be cowed by a force that seems greater than her. May she grow into a woman who, when facing an intimidating challenge or meeting a formidable foe, squares her shoulders, narrows her eyes and tells it to back the hell up.

And, because she's my daughter, may she always wear flamboyant shades and a high SPF.