For many years our family spent a weekend in May at Doheny State Beach, a campground a hour or so up the road. It's
almost impossible super-easy to get reservations there. You just have 7 different people in 7 different houses start calling at 8 a.m. six months before your desired camping date; When you get to the campground you enter a lottery with the other 300 families that want a beachfront site and voila, you have a great camping site on the beach. Easy-peasy.
Doheny is a beautiful place, and a weekend away with like-minded friends is always a great time.One of the things we love about this beach was that it usually isn't very crowded, since if you don't have a campsite it would be quite a haul to walk down to where we hang out.
Doheny is where I learned that even though my mother cooked everything from scratch and spent half the time washing dishes by hand, there was another way . . . and it involved paper plates and hot dogs!
This particular trip Social Butterfly was seventeen months old, and looked a lot like this:
In fact, that is the very ensemble she was wearing when this story took place.
There were about 9 kids on the trip, and SB was the baby of the group. SB was playing in the sand about 15 feet from the water's edge. The rest of the kids were running in and out of the water, building castles; the usual kid-at-the-beach activities. My friend and I were sitting about 10 feet away from SB, up on a berm, to be able to see all the kids clearly.
Suddenly, a rogue wave, the likes of which I have not seen before or since, reached out from the ocean, grabbed my baby, and began to pull her out with it as it retreated. As I jumped up to run down the berm I could see her under water, being tumbled about, as though in a clothes dryer. As I ran toward the water, Big Red, who had just turned 6, appeared out of nowhere to snatch his baby sister from the wave.
I'm sure you have a vivid picture in your mind of the tears, of both fear and relief, that followed. Of course there was the anointment of BR as a lifesaver and hero (he was paid in S'mores). For the rest of the summer, SB visited the beach only as an appendage of mine (think of the closeness a joey has with its Kangaroo mommy).
Luckily, toddlers don't have a particularly long memory span.