Friday night after work, Scuba and I loaded up the kids and went to the beach. We left at 6:30. It was hot and sticky at home, but when we got over the hill it was grey and cold and foggy. We parked in Capitola and got out, everyone demanding their coats and long pants.
I didn’t think it would be a good night to learn to surf, because I thought I would be freezing, but since the boys were getting in the water, I decided to be brave and get in, too.
Turns out, it was warmer in the water than on the shore. The girls stayed on the beach, playing in the waves and watching us. I did okay, I think. I wasn’t able to stand up (that is so much harder than it looks, especially when you are on this side of 35), but I did have alright balance and get up on my knees a few times.
Friday was hard. My dad is still in the hospital, and after doing really well for awhile had suffered a collapsed lung on Thursday. Friday I talked to him, just for a moment. It was a struggle for him to get any words out, but we were able to say that we loved each other. He said he was very uncomfortable. He told me goodnight.
If you’ve ever gone swimming in the ocean, or surfed, or paddled a boat or just walked in the shorebreak, then maybe you have had the experience of the waves and the water stilling all your thoughts and bringing you peace. It’s better than a beer at the end of a long hot day, better than sleep when you are exhausted. I sat out there on that surfboard for the first time and while I was thinking of my dad and feeling this heartbreak that I’m not sure how I’ll ever live with, at the same time I was calm and peaceful and nothing felt really wrong.
So what happens is that you are paddling, hard, but not moving very fast, it seems, and then the wave swells beneath you and starts to carry you. I wasn’t sure when to try and stand up, and the first time I tried I went over the front of the board, got rolled under a wave and then hit square in the top lip by the front of the board as it crashed into my face. But hey, the Pacific is pretty cold so it didn’t hurt. Scuba told me that when the wave started to break, that’s when I should stand up. The next few I caught, I pushed myself up to my knees but my arms weren’t able to get me all the way to standing. It was okay, though, just feeling the waves carry me up to the shore was all I needed.
It started to get dark and the girls were freezing, so we finally, reluctantly, got out of the water and packed up our things. This is something I could do every single day for the rest of my life and never get tired of it. I’ll probably always stick to the little baby waves, but that is fine. I’m not much of a show off.
Today, Sunday, we had plans to go back, but yesterday I got a call that my dad was not doing well at all. He was asking for me, wondering if I was going to be there. So, today was spent finding childcare (Scuba’s parents are stepping in, which is awesome) and booking a flight and getting laundry done and the house picked up so I can go for a few days. For a little while I was worried that I wouldn’t make it in time, but now it seems a little better and I am so looking forward to seeing my dad tomorrow morning that I cannot even think of how to put that into words. He’s back on a ventilator, so I don’t think he will be able to talk to me, but luckily I think we have said all the words we ever need to say to each other and it’ll be good for me to just be there with him.
And, later, when he is gone and my heart is more broken than it is now, I’ll be getting in the water, a lot, and I guess it will all be okay. As okay as it can be, you know?