There are two primary seasons in Florida: wet and dry. This year, the wet season descended upon us with fury. It rained every day for more days than I can remember.
Luckily, my kids are resilient and stubborn so the weather didn’t stop them from playing outside. When they were not watching Peppa Pig episodes on an endless loop, you could likely find them wallowing in mud by the gutter downspouts or running around the driveway, completely drenched from a continuous downpour, laughing and carrying on like inexplicably happy people in pharmaceutical ads on TV. In other words, the May monsoon made outside play time only slightly less frequent, but much wetter.
The boys had also been bugging me to take them to the beach. Of course. I put them off for a week or so by telling them we would wait until it stopped raining.
Finally, though, when it became apparent it might never stop raining, I gave up on the waiting and we just went for it. We made the drive over to my parents’ house in the late afternoon after school, dropped off child number three, and drove out to the National Seashore, arriving around 5 p.m.
As we paid our entry fee to the agreeable park ranger at the drive-thru gatehouse, he asked me if we’d been out to the beach before and if I knew “which parts to avoid.”
I did indeed. (HE WAS TALKING ABOUT THE NUDE PARTS.)
“What did he mean about knowing which parts to avoid?” my six-year-old asked as we pulled away.
“The parts where people are naked,” I replied.
“WHAAAAAT?” both boys shouted in unison before breaking into raucous laughter.
It was perhaps the greatest moment of their lives.
But when we arrived at the beach, parked, and walked across the sand dunes on the long wooden boardwalk, things got even better. There were no naked people, but there was plenty of naked, deserted beach.
And let me tell you, the boys enjoyed the hour and a half we spent at the empty beach, under the gray, cloudy sky, more than I’ve ever enjoyed anything.
They ran and played and laughed. They splashed and dodged the ocean water as it rushed in and out. They gleefully chased a runaway beach ball along the water’s edge as it scurried away, carried by the steady southerly wind. They didn’t fight or argue (well, at least not until we were leaving).
So, I guess it just goes to show you that waiting for the perfect moment is vastly overrated. Because you never know; that perfect moment might be waiting for you to find it, even on the cloudiest day. No matter what kind of clothes you might or might not be wearing.