Monday, August 16, 2010

A Delicate Balance

Seldom is the Oregon Coast hot. The water is so cold that your legs ache when you step into it. Rip tides are a danger as well as creeper waves. Some say that our coastline is raw and mystical with the capes reaching out into the blue sea and the huge rock monoliths standing in the water.

"DO NOT TURN YOUR BACK ON THE WATER!" I yell for the umteenth time watching my granddaughters retreat from the onrushing waves. The tide recedes; they walk out a little further.

When does a grandparent become a nag? When are we overprotective? Is that really possible? Children disappear at school, disappear into the forest, drown in the family pool. Can we really be too protective?

The best method I've found to teach the kids to be safe is to talk about it and explain why they must be careful.

"A creeper wave is a big wave that can sneak in on you if you aren't watching the water and pull you out into the deeper water. So don't turn your back on the ocean....ever."

"I walk backwards, Grammy. Wanna see me?" replies Gabby. Syd is looking at her toes in the water and probably hasn't heard a word I said. Thus I sit on my towel on a rare, hot day on the Seaside, Oregon, beach watching the children play in the surf.

I love this ocean. It is a place where I find peace....on most days. Sometimes when we arrive after that drive  from home to the coast, bundled against the wind and mist, I am a bit afraid of the foggy sea. The rocks rise out of the fog and the ocean looks restless. I want my granddaughters to love the beach. But....
Rip tides off the Oregon coast have carried seasoned swimmers to sea. I know the dangers, yet I want them to have fun. There is a thin line, a balance that must be sought to achieve both. A balance that involves educating, encouragement, one on one.

"How far out can we go?" asks Sydney.

"I don't want you out beyond your knees," I reply knowing what this ocean can do.

"Grammy, that's not fair," replied Gabby. "My knees are lower than Sydney's." Argh!

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