Sometimes I wish I could be an actual surfer… or perhaps a boogie boarder, because even getting up out of bed is a struggle for me at this point in time, but I’m afraid that’s not in the stars. Taking a tumble at Jones Beach, when I was a kid ruined me for life; sand in my suit, tossed around not knowing which way is up, gasping for breath…it’s an experience I don’t want to repeat. Even now I need my sister, or some other person I trust, to take me past the break and tell me what to do. My heart pounds as I look behind at the wave approaching and yell, “What do I do?” “Jump”, my sister says…or “Dive through it!” Exhilarated and panicked, I’d wait for the next one…but that was years ago. Nowadays I’ll stick to the beach.
Sometimes I would bring a cheap boogie board to the beach…just in case. Just in case meant that if something went wrong, I would leap in the water with my boogie and save my child, Bay Watch style. My motherly instinct would overcome my fear and I would save the day!
As the years went by, my fear diminished as I saw my boy’s body change. He became a surfer. No longer a bony “flaco” (skinny boy), he had broad shoulders and fit arms. He paddled, duck dived, and rode the waves. He wasn’t a grouchy teenager; he became a nicer person when he surfed. It had some sort of “Zen” effect on his being. I spent more time reading and relaxing at the beach and I often missed him riding a good one. Soon he was driving on his own and he didn’t need me to take him to the beach. My only rule was that you should never surf alone and that someone should always be on the beach. I don’t know if he paid any attention.
I miss my days as Surfer Mom. I live up in the mountains a half hour from the beach. There’s a different climate where I live. It could be raining a downpour at home and sunny at the beach. I have to make sure I continue my beach trips. I too feel my “Zen” at the beach. No longer clad in a bikini, not even a bathing suit; I go fully dressed with a hat and a shawl to cover my sun damaged chest and I leave my white legs peaking out from my capris to try to get a little color. I bring my books and magazines and feel like I really live in the Caribbean. It’s been over twenty-five years and my mountain jungle is definitely my home, but the sun and the wind and the blue water is island life. Even without my son or my daughter I have to make time for the beach. I’m a Surfer Mom and pretty soon I might be Mom to the Arecibo locals as I make my way to the beach alone.