Saturday, our friend Sadie took us to a beautiful beach to spend the morning.
We stopped at the Rainbow sandals store on the way (new sandals are a vacation tradition) and then trooped down to the beach with blankets and shovels and pails and snacks.
The surf was a little rough, so the rocks were closed and we couldn't explore the tide pools. We set up camp at Sadie's favorite spot, a natural rock arch, and played in the sand.
It was idyllic. The kids dug holes and buried eachother, intermittently squabbling and playing. We chatted, sometimes laughing at the kids, sometimes swooping in to stop a fistful of sand. It was perfectly imperfect, real life, but better.
Suddenly, a wave came crashing up the beach out of nowhere. We were well away from the shoreline and no waves had come close to us all morning. As I saw it approaching, I bent to grab the blanket, thinking we were going to get our feet wet. M was at arm's length and I took hold of his arm just to be on the safe side, but mostly I was glad we had hung our purses on a rock outcropping, so they were going to be fine.
Then all of a sudden it wasn't fine. The wave was coming in both sides of the tunnel, and it was above my knees. Thankfully I had a hold of M, because he was pulled straight towards the rock wall. Sadie grabbed both her kids who were at her feet, but L was completely swept away under the water. Whim, thank God, rescued him in time. He came away with one knee dashed on the rocks, but thankfully nothing worse.
The most terrifying part was that Sadie had scooped up both Micah and Isla in one motion, and in her panic she didn't know if she had them both. She kept screaming for Isla as the wave rushed around our thighs. The whole thing lasted only a minute, but it felt like hours. I kept counting and recounting the kids as Sadie screamed Isla's name. One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four. M, L, Isla, Micah. They're all here.
Then the wave was gone, and everything was quiet. We thought our hearts would never stop racing. I didn't care about a single one of our things, I just wanted to leave everything, walk straight to the car, and go home and never stop hugging and kissing my family.
But Whim, who was no less shaken, didn't want to leave without trying to gather up all our stuff. Most of Sadie's sand toys and all the snacks were long gone, but Whim could see all our new shoes bobbing in the water.
He and a kindhearted snorkeler managed to get them all.
I was just so grateful it was sandals they were searching for and not something much, much graver.