This weekend while I was in Anaheim, I was filled with memories of previous California visits--especially the first when I was nine years old because that's when I first (naturally) saw the ocean.
The way I remember it is this: we came up over a hill and suddenly this mammoth gray-blue beast (aka "the Pacific") came into view, its scaly back sparkling in a late afternoon sun. In what was truly a wonderful family moment, my parents decided we'd get out of the car right then and there. No waiting. My dad parked on the side of the road, we climbed over a guardrail (at least this is how I remember it), and my brother John and I went whooping down to the water while peeling off our clothes. Or most of them anyway.
There could have been other people around. It seems likely, right? It was a beach. In southern California. But as far as I knew there was only us and an endless horizon. I can still remember how the moving water felt, curling up and foaming around my little girl ankles.
This weekend I sent brainwaves to my parents in freezing cold Provo, thanking them for jumping all over an idea that presented itself spontaneously and for not saying (as I probably would have when my kids were little), "We'll do that another time."