Why the beach is better than the ocean…

There are lots of things I like about the ocean.

I love listening to the waves crash upon the shore.  I will gladly lounge on a balcony, sipping an adult beverage and soaking in the view of the ocean.  I enjoy strolling just on the shoreline’s edge, letting the water lick my feet.  And napping on the beach is one of life’s greatest indulgences.

But swimming in that gigantic and seemingly endless body of water?

Not. A. Fan.


I can remember going to Florida as a kid, and wading out in the Gulf of Mexico with my family.  My father would take off on his own, swimming out a bit too far for my liking.  With only his head visible, I’d start to worry and panic.  “DAD!!!  COME BACK!!!” I’d yell, knowing full well that he couldn’t hear me.

He always returned safe and sound, and with the full force of my 6 year-old fury, I’d scold him to never scare me like that again.

My daughter, much like my father, is a water dog.  Fearless.  Thinks she’s a better swimmer than she really is.

Jumping through waves with her on our recent trip to Myrtle Beach gave me a panic attack the size of the Atlantic.

She wanted nothing to do with holding my hand.  She wanted to stand unassisted and plunge her body in to an oncoming wave that was two feet taller than her head.  Every time she’d go under, I’d survey the water like a bear searching for fish, hoping she’d surface.

I couldn’t go on like this forever, on the brink of completely losing it.  So I did what any protective mother would do.

I clutched on to the back of her bathing suit tutu as hard as I could and let her flail her small body through the crashing waves.  With that fistful of cheap Target tulle, I felt a bit more in control, a tad more comfortable, just shy of exuding the confidence of David Hasselhoff in a Baywatch beach rescue.

What was I afraid of?  With my dad, and my children?  The list of reasons I avoid the ocean are endless and read like phobic lunacy.

Unless I’m in the crystal clear and calm surf of somewhere tropical like the Caribbean, that murky water is just too mysterious.  When something brushes against my leg, I can’t tell if it’s a fish, algae, or a diaper gone AWOL.

The pull of the ocean is stronger than my preschooler’s ability to dog paddle.

Have you seen Jaws?

Some people use it as a giant toilet.  A Giant. Freakin’. Toilet

Once I get pulled under, sand gets everywhere.  And I do mean everywhere.  In painful and discreet places in folds and creases I never even knew I had.

No, no.  The sandy beach is where it’s at.  It’s my happy place.  The one that offers solid ground, cold and fruity alcoholic drinks, and serenity.

On the beach, the only thing I have to fend off is the seagull that wants dibs on my can of Pringles.  The sand doesn’t plot to topple me over, suck me under and leave me scraped and cursing.  It’s a gentler side of nature. The shore provides a place to relax, soak in the sun, and pretend I’m the star in an anti-depressant ad.

And, not to toot my own horn, I do make a mean sand turtle.



  1. Can we just go to the beach now, please? For about a week, maybe 10 days. When I go in the water, even after a couple of piña coladas you won’t have to worry about me. Sigh.

    • Girl…Sign. Me. Up. Do mom’s get sabbaticals? We should, considering how much tenure we have. Where would you want to go?


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