Their tiny feet hit the sand with trepidation. It’s hot and feels brittle between their toes. Every step gets them closer, but first they have to endure the slow burn of the sand as they shuffle through it. In the distance they watch the sun bounce off the water, as waves gently build and break at the shore.
As the sand gets cooler and harder, the kids’ steps quicken. Eagerness is pulling them towards the sea. The anticipation of the cool water lapping at their toes is a motivator, even for the tiredest legs. Hands reach down to touch the damp sand. Fingers are dragged through it and tiny particles lodge under their little nails.
Sweat beads around their hairline, mixing with freshly applied smotherings of sunscreen. Sandy hands push their hair back off their eyes, leaving golden granules peppered on their brow. They lick their salty lips and stare out at the ocean. Every step brings them closer to the prize.
It’s hot, the sun stings their eyes and tingles their shoulders, yet they push on. Not long now.
The sounds of the sea nestle in their ears. Balls bounce across the water. Dogs splash in the shallows. Kids squeal. A seagull screeches as it dives for morsels.
Finally, they reach the water’s edge. The shock of the cold liquid splashing up their legs makes them recoil, but doesn’t deter them from walking further into the sea. They’ve come too far to stop now. Smiles fill their sun-kissed faces. Sand makes its journey into every crevasse. Rays of sun sparkle on the tips of the water ripples. Time lingers deliciously.
Soon they’ll make the long, return journey to the car, trudging back through the soft, hot sand. They’ll stand in the murky puddles on the gravel and wash the sand from their hot skin, before slipping their feet back into their wet flip flops. Towels are wrapped around their shoulders.
Ice blocks are slurped in the car; sugary drips stream down their arms. There’s sand in their bathers. The air-conditioning is blasting. Exhaustion will overcome them.
There’s Aussie hip hop on the car radio. My hand rests gently on my husband’s knee. We listen to the gentle snores of our sandy children. Summer is here.