Thursday, 21 July 2011

no chlorine

Rosey and I were floating in the pool night before last (before all the chlorine tabs and pool-shock and whatever else that goes in there went in there) and I was trying to explain to her how if she dipped her head back and closed her eyes and just floated, how that was like my summers were like growing up, because I grew up near a lake.  And she looked right at me and said 'Awww, Mama. You never got to go to the beach?'

(Because 'beach' to her means the Atlantic.)
It's weird how different (in mostly small and indefinable ways) their growing up is than mine. I guess I never thought about how they'd grow up as salt-water kids, thousands of miles away from what I think of as home, and from another country to boot - and how alien that would make me feel. They've dipped their toes in Lake Huron on our last vacation, but have yet to see Lake Michigan - which is strange to me, as the big fierce body of water governed so much of my childhood. I'm sure I'm idolizing the bay, but there's just something about the memory of all that water and constant fresh-water breeze that makes me astonished that they don't have that as a governing thought in their bodies too.
  last August, on the shores of Lake Huron, in one of the tiny towns that populate the lake-side there.
A better example: last night Cass told me to shush because he wanted to hear the Pledge of Allegiance on tv. (Because he's never really heard it.) And I, of course, cannot bleat out O Canada at any time.
I'm not sure them being raised as Americans would make them any better. (I think they're pretty spectacular, after all.) This is all situational stuff.  But it's different than I thought it would be.

I wonder - do you catch yourself sometimes and think about how different than yourself your children are?

Today they're out at 'the beach', frolicking at the ocean with their beloved aunt, having a wonderful time. Soon they'll be home, sandy feet, windburned cheeks, and all, bursting with stories and adventures and pocketsfulls of treasures.

We're alike in that way. I can never leave a beach - freshwater or salt - without stuffing my pockets full of momentos either.

Hm. Maybe we're not so different after all.


Kathy said...

Your lake is my woods. I grew up running around in them, but my kids have no concept of what a real WOODS is. We have scrubby brushland here in TX, but it's nothing like the cool green woods of my midwestern youth. (They do run around outdoors a lot, though, especially my girl. It's just a different outdoors than I had.) I wonder sometimes what their memories of childhood will be -- what smells and sounds and tricks of the light will take them back to where they are right now.

Schadenfreude Warehouse said...

My great aunt and uncle lived down the street (literally) from Lake Michigan. I remember seeing it for the first time and thinking that it looked just like the ocean.

lgsquirrel said...

I think it is great for kids to grow up with a beach in their lives. It probably matters less if it is a lake or a sea. Strangely, I posted on beaches and childhood just recently.

Elizabeth said...

Lakes certainly defined my childhood and my kids have had a "lake" upbringing as well, different but equally good. My childhood cottage was on a big lake, Lake Erie and I have always lived very close to Lake Ontario, until now. My kids grew up with Lake Ontario at their feet so to speak, (in fact our neighbourhood was called The Beach) but it is not a lake for swimming, sadly : pollution! Their summer lakes are small ones in cottage country. They have dipped into oceans on both coasts of Canada. In fact, in the ocean on a hot day in P.E.I. my then 9 year old daughter said, "This is just like Wasaga Beach" until a wave came over her and she got a mouth full of salt water. That was a surprise!
So, same but different and that's okay. I think we all like to recreate the good memories we have had for our children but they don't have to be exactly the same at all.

Tamara Dawn said...

That photo is just gorgeous! I was raised in San Diego. I miss the beach so much!

Z said...

My teenage children first fully understood the generation gap when I told them that I was 16 when I first saw a cassette recorder. 20 years on from that, my grandchildren have never heard of a cassette recorder!

There is a lot of water around here, little streams and tributaries to the river, but I'm half an hour away from the sea, the furthest I've ever lived. I rather miss it, but then I don't miss that I do not live in a holiday resort. And it was a sandy beach, and I dearly love a seashore with rock pools. Most of all, as a child growing up by a river, I miss simply messing around in boats.