Sunday, October 30, 2011

Make-A-Wish Trip, Day 6: To the Beach!

We ended our week in Florida by staying away from the theme parks and heading to the ocean. But...we had to start the day with a dose of toon with Scooby Doo at the Give Kids the World village.

It was an hour drive to the Atlantic. Along the way, Julia did homework while I looked for gators on the flat Florida landscape. She got her work done, but I didn't see any reptiles. We passed a cruise ship after driving over one of the causeways leading to Cocoa Beach, our sandy destination. Near the pier at the beach was a good place to spend the afternoon; it had bathrooms, a couple of restaurants, and beach umbrella rentals.

Amanda and I weren't sure what the kids would think. Julia has twice visited the Pacific on the Oregon coast, but those shorelines are rocky and picturesque rather than the sunny and sandy one we had just arrived at. Finn had never seen either coastline.

Needless to say, they loved it. They were happy running in and out of the surf, digging holes in the sand watching the tide fill them, and finding seashells.

Since we stayed longer than we had planned, our snacks weren't sufficient to feed us. We took advantage of one of the restaurants on the pier and got some food to go and ate it on our towels on the sand, sitting under our rented umbrella.

Like my daughter, I've been to the Pacific coast a number of times, but haven't really had an opportunity to swim and submerge myself in the salty water. I was thrilled to get that opportunity this time. I'm not a big swimmer and have little interest in most water activities, but there has always been something about the ocean that has drawn me to it. The endlessness and the all-natural cacophony. The unthinkable amount of water, while what we see from the shore has a feeling of sparseness of life, the pieces of shells give hints about the life that's there.

Several times I went out a ways and floated on my back. It was pretty amazing, slowly moving as the waves lifted me up and gently lowered me back down. It was interesting comparing that sort of ease of movement compared to standing upright and feeling those same waves shoving me towards the shore.

Julia had a fun idea and added shells to the outside of one of her sand creations.

Eventually we gathered up the kids, washed off as much sand as we could and headed back to central Florida. That evening at GKTW, there was a princesses and pirates party. There were activities, dancing, and pirates and princesses everywhere. Finn got his picture taken with a very exciting pirate.