What to do for Labor Day weekend? Reminiscing about last year’s trip to the beach, I wasn’t so sure if I wanted to take Najwa back, but Nduku is a sucker for sun, sand and ocean. So off to the edge of the country we went.
The trip started off as perfect as we could’ve asked for. Najwa slept the entire way there. Lately she’s been practicing for her terrible twos, elevating her tantrums to ear-piercing shrieks for no reason and throwing things and hitting and I’m so glad she hasn’t learned how to bite yet.
But we made it. We chose Dewey Beach in Delaware and were fortunate the traffic wasn’t too bad considering we got a late start. We parked. We grabbed a few souvenirs to add to the collection. We stepped onto the beach, and the little diva made her Dewey Beach debut.
The true test came when Najwa hit the water. Or more like when the water hit her. Considering last year’s debacle, I figure she’d shy away from the roar of the ocean, the crashing of the waves and the rush of water under her feet tugging at her to go deeper into the unknown.
We were walking towards the Atlantic Ocean; I was ready to head back to where we laid out the towel when Najwa started crying; but to my surprise, she made a beeline to the water and braced herself for that first contact.
We also got Najwa her first pail and shovel. It gave me a moment to rest between our journeys into the ocean. Najwa got brave and went out to where the water reached her chest. I did what I could to keep her relatively safe, but there were a few silent waves that snuck in and smacked her right in the face. But she handled it well. The salt was burning her eyes and the sand on her tongue was annoying, but she kept going in for more.
We lost one of her shoes in the undertow. And she kept wanting to grab other people’s floats, rubber tubes and boogie boards. And she fell a couple times, head under the water, and came up crying. But for the most part, I was impressed.
But neither of us can swim so we were going to go out too far. I had this fear that if a wave knocked me off balance and I dropped her in water deeper than she is tall, well, it’s a thought I wasn’t going to test.
For the non-swimmers, we had a pool just for us.
We were out there for hours. Mostly chasing Najwa around the beach, holding Najwa up from the waves crashing on top of her, wiping the salty water out her eyes, getting the sand out her mouth. At one point the waves knocked her over and she couldn’t figure out if she should cover her face or try to hold herself up. The look of terror on her face pained me. I grabbed her, pulled her out the water, felt bad she had to experience that feeling of having no control of what happens next, then, well, she started crying, wanting to be put down so she could run back out into the same water trying to swallow her up.
When it was time to go, from all the running around and fighting the waves, Najwa went to sleep. Instantly. It was a good day.