The sky has cleared, the temperature is just right, and somehow, we made it to the beach without any meltdowns. I’m here today with my two foster sons, ages 8 and 11. The kids have been with us for three months and this is our first time spending a day at the beach. Ever the optimist, I have even brought a book to relax with!
Like many kids in care, my guys tell me that they have never spent a whole day at the beach. Everything looks new to them. We discuss what to expect and how to stay safe in this type of environment so they can best explore it, enjoy it, and have fun.
We walk down and check out the water. It’s cold! Fortunately, it’s low tide so they can splash around. The boys are brothers, and the older of the two is used to being responsible for the younger one. We are gradually working on letting us be the parents, and today they are able to share this new experience as just two kids.
There are loads of other families with kids here today. My boys watch a group of other kids tossing a football around and look like are eager to get in the game, but don’t know how to make a connection. But later, they are able to share some of the toys we brought with another little boy and all dig in the sand together.
Before you know it it’s time to leave. I never did read my book, but my guys got to enjoy a part of childhood that many take for granted. They had fun, were able to adjust to a lot of new experiences at once, and even played with another kid. That’s a very good day in my book.
by Diane Kindler, MSW, LICSW