The sun was setting in pinks behind the clouds as we got our first glimpse of the ocean last night, and that was all the kids needed to re-energize and awaken. The crash of the surf, the salt air swirling around us, and the illicit thrill of standing knee-high in the Atlantic with our clothes still on.

This is what we came for. This is what we’d been waiting the whole summer to get to – cousins and friends, late nights and early mornings, the only sounds those of things bigger than us, the swell of ocean, the crest of wind, the laughter of children, the night falling around us as we sip our sweating beers and get ready to crack open clam shells.

Every time a big wave swelled, the kids screamed and said, “A big one’s coming!” Mostly, they got to shore in kindness, a big tease, not nearly as scary as it had seemed from far offshore.

I tried to explain the metaphor for the kids, but my voice was drowned out by the ocean.

Moonlight shimmered on top of the waves. I couldn’t break my eyes away. It was like I could almost hold the moonlight in my hand, it was that close.

Today, Asher was prompted to go ask the lifeguard the reason behind the big red buoys floating in a single line on the waves. He came back and reported: in the morning, the lifeguards do their training there.

We’d concocted so many stories for why they were there. Repair of the beach after last summer’s hurricane. People wanting to know how far they swim when they work out. Sharks or killer whales lurking beneath. The truth wasn’t nearly as creative.

“Sometimes the truth isn’t very interesting, Mommy,” Asher said.

And once again, the ocean presents the metaphor.

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