Another walk on the beach

I originally posted the following around a year ago, however, while my eldest is now a second grader and will be attending the same school as he did the year before, much of the rest of this post is just as true today.

storm brewing off topsail island
I could get used to views like this

“Do you want to go for a walk?” I asked Kiddo. It was only the second day of our beach trip. Earlier that morning, Lamont spotted a four to five foot shark chasing after a school of fish in the waves and none of us were exactly jumping up and down to get back into the water.

“Sure mom,” he replied, trotting to my side.

As we walked, every so often Kiddo would leap ahead, driven to scoop up a shell and hurl it back into the sea while he waited for me to catch up. It was a far cry from the early years I spent begging him to stay focused and keep up. I glanced back toward our tent and noticed that his footprints in the sand weren’t much smaller than my own.

“Do you still want to be a firefighter when you grow up?” I asked. It was a question that had been on my mind for the last several months. Kiddo had decided at the age of two that he was going to be a firefighter and stuck with his original announcement as the years progressed. He has a lunch box-shaped like a fire truck, a dozen firefighting themed books, and even a note from his Kindergarten teacher stating that perhaps we might like to expose him to other topics after journal page after journal page featured the same red and white truck. But over the last several weeks he had been picking dinosaurs over trucks when given the option. It made me wonder.

“Well I still would like to… some of the time.”

There it was. He was considering other career options. My baby was growing up.

“Well what do you want to be?” I asked. It was a simple question, one I had asked dozens of times, but for the first time in years, I didn’t know how he would answer.

His new school year starts next week. He’ll be attending a brand new school, with brand new teachers, at a brand new time, with brand new friends. Many of our neighbors are excited about the opportunity. They see the school’s raw potential, but as much as I would love to share their enthusiasm, I am too obsessed with the what ifs to look forward to the school year. Kiddo was identified as potentially gifted and a future leader at last year’s school. What if the teacher’s notes didn’t follow him? Would he be asked to slow down so the rest of the kids could catch up? What if there is no chemistry with the faculty? Would parents and students have to suffer while they figured out how to work together? What if? What if? What if?

I fear the unknown almost as much as I fear sharks. I hate not being able to see what is in the water next to me. I hate not being in control of my destiny. I hate what ifs. We kept walking.

The following day, the morning sun reflected off the water to our left as gray skies grew to our right. Storms were in the afternoon forecast. If we were going to swim, we thought we’d better do it soon, or not at all. As we approached the surf, a dark fin appeared several feet in front of Lamont and Kiddo. Great. There goes another vacation day. Then another fin popped up. Each was attached to a curved back. The fins disappeared beneath the water only to reappear several more feet away. Not sharks. Dolphins.

I let myself relax. Where there are dolphins, there is unlikely to be sharks. The fins didn’t appear again, but we took it as a sign and dared to go back into the water. I am still far from thrilled about the start of the school year, but maybe, just maybe, things might yet work out. Tomorrow is still a big unknown, but at least it is another day.

rainbow over topsail

24 thoughts on “Another walk on the beach

  1. That’s a sweet post, Allie! My girl is heading into year five – yet it seems not so long ago she was in Year 1. Her career choices change all the time, though tend towards the creative. When she was really small she told us she wanted to be a doctor for mermaids and mermen – we told her it was a pretty narrow field, so she’d probably do well. She still laughs about that now 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I still love that career choice. Kiddo’s current craze is paleontology, but it isn’t quite like it was during the fireman era. My youngest though has yet to advise us as to anything he might like to be. Likes to keep us in suspense.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am not sure there is a professional title for what he wants to be. So far, all I’ve gotten is it is some mix between weatherman, volcanist, chimp whisperer, waterfall designer, chocolate taste tester, and/or despotic overlord.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I am guessing grandkids age even faster than their parents did too. So sad, and yet so wonderful at the same time.

      Thanks! The weather was just as lovely this time around too.


  2. Love this, also, HATE the thought of the terror tot growing up. I can’t even imagine it and yet he keeps on growing. Also – I bloody knew your family was full of gifted geniuses – definitely told you so! :p

    I hate what if. I am a control freak, what if ain’t in my vocab.


    1. Kids really are so very inconsiderate in that way. It is really so much to ask that they simply mature to the point that they are potty trained and sleep through the night, but not so much that they shy away from wrapping their arms around your neck in snuggle hugs or can actually be relied upon to nap when you really need to get some work done?

      🙂 I am a control freak too. Hate hate hate ‘what if.’

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m sure things will work out well for him at his new school. Incidentally, my elder son’s ambition for a long time was too be an astronaut. Now he’s talking about becoming some kind of office worker. It’s more realistic, I admit, but I sometimes miss the days when all his dreams were big ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Is your son aware of the “gifted” label? If he isn’t aware of it, were the school to single him out and, in doing so, let his peers know that he was gifted, would he be okay with this? I’m just asking this question because of what happened with my son. When he came top twice in the UK’s SAT test out of 300 pupils, the school decided to give him the opportunity to attend some additional classes for gifted children. Except he didn’t see it as an opportunity because he was shy and didn’t enjoy the attention and singling-out from others that went with it. From then on in, he dropped from being a straight-A student, to someone who coasted along with Cs and the occasional B.


    1. He is not aware of the gifted label but was aware that he had been identified as a leader, which he quite enjoyed as he likes to be seen as helpful and in charge. What that meant was he was paired with a friend who could benefit from a little more help with some concepts, kind of like a watered down peer tutor. Together they made quite the team.

      Unfortunately, though I suspect he’ll have some of the same issues as the years continue as your son. While it may be cool in the first grade to be praised by the teacher, I can totally see that praise being a source of ridicule by others. I especially worry as he is proving to have a thin skin when it comes to teasing.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ugh. This: “I am too obsessed with the what ifs to look forward to the school year.” Yes. I know.

    Giftedness is something too many people wish for their kids. They have no idea what they’re wishing for. It’s a difficult life. You struck a chord with me on this one so I will shut it now. I’ve too much to say on the matter. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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