We got back home from the beach very late Saturday night after driving all day.  We were so tired that night we just put the kids in bed and didn’t even unload the car. I am slowly coming out of my beach induced trance. Maybe someday I’ll unpack our suitcases…maybe.You know you had a good day at the beach when you drop two armloads of floaties and snacks and towels, shake the sand out of places it should never be, and you’re tan and tired.  That was how we felt everyday, but it was a good tired…a relaxed tired. 

I am starting to go through the photos I took and I am realizing it’s going to take several posts to document the trip.  I was determined to do a better job of taking more pictures this time. 

On our last day at the beach, I ended up taking a bunch of pics of Annabelle because the boys were way out in the waves and THIS, our last day at the beach, was the day she finally decided to put her toes in the sand.  Before, this day, whenever we’d try to put her down she would lift her feet, keeping them from making contact with the sand.  She wanted us to carry her, and hold her.  She would sit in her little purple folding chair and reach down with a little shovel in her hand and try to play in the sand without letting it touch any part of her. But this day was different. 

It was almost like she knew this was our last day at the beach, her last chance to do the thing she was working up the nerve to do.  I was walking behind Annabelle and my mom as we crossed the bridge over the dunes and towards the beach. Annabelle paused for a second when she spotted the sand, considering her choices.  She could do more of the same and insist on being carried through the scary stuff, OR she could stand tall and confident and experience the grittiness as she walked through it.  She made up her mind and quickened her stride.  She held her Gigi’s hand down the steps and then let go and walked on her own through the sand.  She chose to do something that challenged her, overcame her fears and siezed the day.  Then she ventured out to where the waves slowly glide up on the wet sand. She got in a little farther and a wave knocked her down. She cried. The salt water stung her eyes. I picked her up to comfort her but soon she wanted to stand on her own. Then she walked into the water again but this time when the waves knocked her down she laughed knowing she could handle it.

Today’s hurdle was sand and waves, but many more challenges await. There will be skinned knees, and feeling left out, and break-ups, but a strong, confident, I-can-tackle-anything attitude will emerge. Because a person’s character is shaped by erosion.  Just like how over time sand and water slowly shape the Grand Canyon, hurt feelings and broken hearts and disappointment shape us into beautiful, interesting, people.  I’m with Annabelle, I want to experience life’s challenges. Because the sand and waves might be even more fun than being carried and because challenges are followed closely by perseverence, adventure, victory, and confidence.