It can be torture, like trying to grab a cold glass of water that’s just out of reach on a scorching day.
It is like this: you pull up to the beach with three kids under six and one of their friends. You lug bags of plastic cars, pails and shovels, boogie boards, sandwiches and water and a couple of apples, towels and sun block and a big umbrella and the baby in the car seat and a beach chair.
It’s 300 yards to the shoreline and your eyes are set on the surf.
The waves are good, very good. Perfect for surfing. Offshore winds are caressing the waves as they break. They are hollow and peeling perfectly to the left and the right. The ones breaking to the left are best, racing down the coast.
You’d be getting long, fast rides. Ah, the joy of living at the beach.
But the kids are off in a shot. They are out wading in the waves as they run up the shoreline. They can’t swim yet. So you’re behind them. Your surfboard is at home. You know your surf buddies will be out there, killing it. Surfing hard and having an absolute blast.
But you won’t moan or try to get away. You’ll do the better thing.
“Get the boogie boards, kids,” you yell out.
And they race up to your wife and the stuff and bring back the boards.
You’re going to teach them the ways of the waves, the tides and the currents. How to ride on your belly and then on your knees. Teach them which waves are best and how to catch them and ride them in straight, and how to turn and how to get back out.
They’re listening and trying and practicing and loving it and you’re loving it.
Then you think you’ll get your wife back into it. You taught her years ago and she can do it. And then you’ll teach the baby when she’s old enough. And one day we’ll all be doing it as a family. And Surfer Magazine will be calling to do a profile of us and put in a big photo of the five of us with bronzed bodies and carefree hair out in the surf killing it.