- Posted July 22, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
Single Again - "Beachin'"
by Lucy Connor
This week has been the first of two beach vacations this summer with my children and grandchildren. My son-daughter-in-law and granddaughter from Walnut Grove, my daughter from Nashville and my grandson from Watkinsville and I have shared a little villa on Hilton Head. We have had a blast. It has actually been great to be a single on this trip as I have been free to do whatever needs to be done, especially for the grandchildren.
I have spent quite a bit of time people watching as the week has gone on and I must say that my thoughts have strayed a bit to the many, many dating profiles I have read that say that the man in question loves long walks on the beach, along with other things like antiquing and symphony concerts.
Can I just say that most of the men I have seen on the beach were passed out under a sun umbrella, beer can in hand, beer gut hanging over their too tight swim trunks…ignoring their significant other? Where are all of those romantic, middle aged men wooing their beautiful young lover on the hot sands? To be fair, most of the middle aged women I saw on the beach were kind of doing the same thing…except in a two piece that should never have been purchased let alone worn out in public.
Why is it that we feel the need to say things to make us look like something we are not? What is it about the picture of walking up and down a crowded, sandy, hot, beach hand in hand with a balding, pot-bellied middle aged man that is so appealing? Maybe it helps us recall the days when our previous love was young. I remember sitting on a blanket on Tybee Island, watching the love of my life playing a game of “half-rubber” (a beach game involving a half a rubber ball..) with his best friend. He had dark skin and coal black hair and I remember literally watching his skin change to a beautiful golden brown right before my eyes. We were there with some friends, visiting another friend and it was possibly the most romantic weekend we ever spent together. That is saying a lot since we were together for over 25 years.
A couple years ago, I watched him walk hand in hand with his new wife down the same beach and all of a sudden, the romance that I once associated with beach trips paled. I imagined all of the days we spent playing in the surf alone and with our kids, the walks we took, the fun and laughter of those years, and it seemed to me a slap in the face that he was doing it with another woman, in the exact same place we made all of those memories together.
Let me be perfectly clear, if I had the option of more beach trips with him now, I would not take the option. I have no desire to walk those beaches holding his hand. Truthfully, it will take someone really special to make me want to make more beach memories. I have a feeling that new beach memories might look a little bit different than the old ones.
Here is the picture I paint in my imagination. First of all, it is not Tybee beach, for obvious reasons. We are there with our families, kids, grandkids, and puppies, the whole she-bang. We have a big house so all the kids and their families can stay under one roof. We cook out on the deck and enjoy playing in the pool in the heat of the day with the grandkids. Maybe we sneak out for a night swim after the babies are in bed, and share a few kisses in private. When we go to the beach, we pull up the beach chairs and sit in the surf or we ride the waves with the kids. We laugh at all of the people and silly things we see as we sit in the most perfect place in the world to people watch. We are friends; we are parents and grandparents, the wise and goofy ones of the group. We are lovers, but do not need to flaunt that status in the faces of our families or of the innocent people on the beach that do not want to see PDA from a couple of “oldish” people. We are two people, happy in our own middle age skin. We are happy for our achievements and our battle scars and happy that we found each other. We do not feel the need to be people that we are not, to impress other middle aged people with our beauty and wit. We have found love in this weird place of “single again” and the beach is just another of the many places that we find peace and happiness in the middle of that love.
I look forward to the day that “Beachin’” is just another way to share our forever lives together.