We just returned from our annual trip to the ocean. As Eddie gets older, and has a better understanding of his environment, travel has become more challenging. He misses the predictability of home, and going on a trip means almost anything can happen. The rest of Eddie’s family loves that. Eddie…not so much.
Driving to the ocean takes us about 8 hours and for most of the trip we heard, “After ocean…Then?” When we didn’t have something concrete to explain, he would pretty much fall apart. After that, his parents would sometimes fall apart. Obviously, our trip didn’t start off with family sing-alongs and group hugs.
As we got settled into our campsite, we learned that Eddie could indeed adjust. He found comfort inside the yurt we were staying in, and after some exploration, was able to map out our campsite and easily get from the yurt to his trusty hammock. His sisters did teach him some Girl Scout sing-alongs, and he enjoyed every minute.
What surprised us this year was the willingness to push his own limits. For example, he started climbing. He was climbing up the bunkbeds, into his Dad’s tall truck by himself, and onto a rail on the pier. He would’ve kept climbing that rail if we hadn’t intervened, and likely ended up taking a swim. Climbing is a skill most young children pick-up, but never Eddie. This climbing seemed to be out of nowhere.
The other surprise was his willingness to walk off into the surf. He never was super impressed by the ocean…the waves are loud and it’s very cold where we visit. But this year, after some time at the beach to get comfortable with his surroundings, he stood up…and walked independently into the waves. When the water touched his toes, he laughed and came rushing back ashore just like his sisters.
As much as we wanted to step in and “teach” him about the ocean…we let him teach himself. He quickly learned the pattern of the waves, where to find dry sand, and where to find the ocean spray. He walked back and forth, and up and down the beach…100% independent. The rough patches during the trip were worth the chance to observe this emerging risk-taker…taking control of his environment, and owning his vacation.