By Lindsay Gallagher on 09/2/2011
“Mamma! Come swimming with me!” Ronan ran towards me, dripping wet, with a big smile on his face. He tossed his boogie board into the sand. “Come on, mamma, please.” I was sitting in my beach chair reading and “chillaxing,” as Ronan and Tess like to say. But I couldn’t turn down such a request, so I pulled myself up out of my reclined position and followed him into the big So Cal waves. I screamed when the first one hit my belly. “But it’s warm, mamma. You have to get all the way in.” Ronan threw himself on top of a broken wave then popped up laughing. “Just jump in, mamma. Jump in.” “It’s takes me a minute.” The break was bigger than at the Jersey Shore, where I used to wade out with my mother for hours. The water was colder, just under 70 degrees, but still way warmer than what we’re used to up in LA. And it was so clear I could see my feet. “Mamma, come on.” I leaned back as the waves retreated then braced myself as they built again. When the right one appeared, I dove under and let it pull my up on the other side.
“Isn’t this awesome?” Ronan said.
Like when I was a kid, I dove all the way to the sand as another barrel collapsed over me. “Let’s swim out,” I said, urging him under the next wave. I like to get to the other side. “Swim to me,” I said.
He reached out and grabbed my hand. This may be the last time he ever does this, I thought. Right now, he’s still calls me “mamma.” He wants to swim with me. He holds my hand. “Big wave coming,” he yelled and we dove under just in time. We spent last weekend together on the beach in Laguna Niguel. Tess had been invited on an end-of-summer vacation with another family, so Ronan and I were on our own – just the two of us, for three days. He loved the fancy room with matching double-beds. And ordering room service for our “movie night.” On Saturday, we dined at the hotel restaurant. I had a cocktail and he had a ginger ale as we watched the sun set over the Pacific.
“When you live on the East Coast,” I said, “You never get to see the sunset over the ocean.”
“So for you and daddy, this is a really big deal.”
“Totally. I mean, you can see a sunrise over the Atlantic, but who wants to get up that early.”
“Yeah,” he agreed.
“Come on,” I said, after we were stuffed. He followed me to the stairs that plunged off the cliff then down to the beach. The waves were steadily crashing; the tide was rolling in. We took off our shoes and ran in the sand.
“Mamma, get your feet wet,” he said when he caught me dodging the surf. So I did. I ran along with him as we tried to pick out the Big Dipper and the North Star. “Thank you so much for bringing me to this beach, mamma,” he said. “This is so fun.” He gave me a big hug.
“Thank you for coming with me.”