The Ocean’s Playground

The stranger only spoke one sentence. It was all he needed to say. The perfect string of sixteen words completely transformed the moment.


The small board was secured to my wrist and I held the rope for additional protection. Her tiny hands held on tight after my instructions and a few times of falling in the surf. She skimmed across the water effortlessly as I ran and pulled her across the two or so inches of tide beneath her. And she squealed in delight as each wave approached and laughed a nervous laughter when we crashed into it, a laughter that also sounded relieved every time she managed to stay afloat. As the water returned to the ocean I’d spin her around so she could see the next wave begin to chase us. Back and forth I ran, pulling her behind me. Sometimes running backward just so I could watch her face. Everyone else on the beach faded away. It was just her and I enjoying the few remaining hours of daylight from the quickly setting sun.

That’s why I didn’t even see him coming, which made his comment all the more surreal to me. Almost like an angel who appears for a short time and then vanishes, this man, with leathery dark skin, dressed in a jet black wetsuit, seemed to have come out of nowhere. But now I found him approaching me and I could tell he had something to say.

The woman next to him was also tanned, but her skin was not weathered like his. In the time it took me to hear his words I was able to process that this was his daughter walking along the beach with him. She wore a wetsuit as well, and carried with her a set of flippers in her left hand. That’s when his words registered with me.

“Turn back the clock twenty-five years and that’s exactly what I was doing with her.” His finger pointed down at my daughter.

With a nod and a look shared between he and his grown up daughter they were already passed and walking away with their backs toward me before I could respond. It left me with an amazing feeling.

Something that struck me too was the look in his daughter’s eyes. It was the look of a fond memory. Like she still felt like daddy’s little girl being pulled along in the ocean’s playground. Her eyes smiled reminiscently at my daughter, whose own eyes gleamed unaware of the moment I was having while she sat patiently on the board.




10 Replies to “The Ocean’s Playground”

  1. I loved this post. While he was looking into the past, It was almost like you got to see a glimpse into the future. You and Ella still bonding. 🙂


  2. Amazing. That’s quite a moment. I’ve had a couple of those, too. My daughter (Ava, 3) were in an an open soccer field near our house, once. I would run at her and play tackle her, giggling the whole time. While I kneeled on the ground, she’d run back at me and play tackle me, my arms wide open.

    A woman–probably in her 50’s, nothing else distinguishable except the enormous smile she wore–walked by and said, “That’s the most amazing thing I’ve seen all day.” I said thank you, then cried. I am so lucky.


    1. These moments are profound aren’t they? Taking something so ordinary and opening our eyes to see just what the significance might be for us or our kids years later.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!


  3. so amazing that you are aware of each special moment. They will forever be in your heart. It doesn’t get any better than that. So glad you guys are having a great time.


  4. Such a beautiful moment! Thank you for sharing. I still have toddlers in my house, but my oldest is 22 now. It seems like just yesterday I was holding his hand as he jumped over the waves. The time slips by too quickly!


    1. Time does go by so fast! One thing I loved about that moment was thinking how just because she gets older doesn’t mean we don’t have to be close.

      Thanks for reading and for the comment!


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