Readers often ask, “Where do you get the inspiration for your books?” The easy answer is … Everywhere. I once concocted an entire novel in my head, about a wedding planner and one of the guests, along with some intrigue for excitement, while sitting through one of my husband’s cousin’s weddings. When the hubs nudged my arm and said it was time to go to the reception, I protested. “I haven’t worked out the ending yet.” (Luckily, he was used to this sort of behavior by then, so he did not make me an appointment for psychiatric treatment.)
A perfect example of inspiration is this particular blog. Last week, I read a blog about going to the beach and the differences between childless individuals who go to the beach and parents with children who go to the beach. It was utterly hilarious (because it’s so true), and the link is here: http://www.sunnyskyz.com/blog/286/This-Mom-Perfectly-Explains-Going-To-The-Beach-With-Kids-Vs-Going-Without-Kids.
This past weekend (not surprisingly, if you know me at all), I went to the beach, with my kids and a few of my neighbors and their kids. As I sat there, half paying attention to my kids and sipping cocktails with the neighbors, I thought about the above blog, and about my personal beach experience over the years. So was the inspiration for a blog about the evolution of my beach experience.
When my husband and I were searching for our first home (which happens to be the same house in which we still live), just a couple years after we were married (so yes, a long time ago), we had a handful of criteria:
- The house had to be located in a decent school district (for our future children)
- It had to have a fireplace (we live in the north and roaring fires go a long way towards helping one deal with the long, cold winters)
- It had to have a garage (see long, cold winter comment above)
- It had to have access to a beach (also see long, cold winter comment)
Lakefront would have been nice, of course, but we were poor as dirt back then and were lucky to even afford a house at all. We ended up in an established neighborhood with residents that were a healthy mix of retired folk (my kids call one of our neighbors “Grandma”) and young couples either with children, or, like us, planning to start families of their own soon. The house also had access to a private beach that was owned by the neighborhood association.
For the first two summers, we simply walked down to the beach, towel, sunscreen, and book in hand. That’s it. Every nice weekend, all summer long. Then we had our first child. And then the second.
For years, my beach experience involved standing over two young children who were generally content playing in the shallow water near shore. This slowly evolved into two young children who were trying out their wings, or rather, fins, and were determined to give their mother a heart attack, as they swam into deeper and deeper water. I was afraid to turn away, even for a second. Except to grab another drink, that is. Drinks became a requirement at the beach, just to keep me somewhat sane during this phase.
One summer, a few years ago, the kids became brave enough to swim out to the floating raft. Without lifejackets. Then they became brave enough to jump off said raft. Without lifejackets. I can say with all honesty that my heart lodged into my throat every single time.
Now, finally, they are old enough and experienced enough swimmers that I do not think twice about them swimming out to and spending hours leaping from the dock. In fact, my thoughts are usually along the lines of, “Oh good, they will probably fall asleep early tonight.” The next rite of passage is the swim across the lake, but we’ll cross that bridge when we have to. Until then, I am enjoying this phase of the beach evolution.
We have not been alone throughout this nearly fifteen year cycle. In fact, I would venture to say we have almost never been alone down at that beach. This perfect neighborhood really is just that, and together, we are raising our children. We are standing over them at the beach and chewing our nails as they swim to the dock for the first time and holding our breath when they leap off the dock for the first time. Each and every summer weekend, I say a little prayer of thanks that the hubs and I were too poor to afford lakefront property back in the day. Because the experiences I have with this neighborhood are something I would not trade for anything.
There’s more where this blog came from. I post a new blog every Monday. I have also written a few books. You can check them out through my website. If you purchase them, and you like them, please leave a review. Thank you!