Play Like a Child
Play Like a Child
How do you “play like a child”? With a 40 mile-an-hour wind, the waves of Lake Michigan in Muskegon beach were two to five feet high! The wind kite surfers showed up with their beautiful colorful kites flying in the air taking them along for the ride. Kite surfing, if you haven’t heard the term, is when you ride a surfboard behind a kite.
The waves reminded me of my childhood years growing up in my country of origin, Nicaragua. We used to go to our beach house every weekend almost year-round. I remember the vast coastline that extended miles long and what seemed to me also a mile long before you actually reached the water.
The volcanic sand made you run to the water to avoid melting your feet from the hot, charcoal black sand. The game with my five siblings was who could run faster without losing your flip flops along the way from the lose gray sand to the black shiny wet coast to the edge of the water.
My childhood adventures in the ocean ended abruptly when I was thirteen years old and my family had to flee the country due to the revolution. We were refugees in the Dominican Republic for almost seven years before migrating to the United States and settling in Minnesota—far, far away from any ocean… My husband grew up in Minnesota going to his grandparents’ lake cabin, so his memories are different than mine but also fun playing in the water.
This year I wanted to go on vacation to some beach—anywhere in the world. But due to the pandemic, we couldn’t travel far. So we decided to spend a week visiting my sister who lives in Muskegon, MI and my brother who has a lake house in Muskegon. It was the right decision.
What fun we had together! And I played like a child. On the last day, there was a wind advisory in Muskegon and when I went to the beach and saw the waves, I couldn’t resist the child in me and immediately went to play in the waves. I laughed, jumped over the waves, under the waves, and through the breaking waves—just like when I was a child in Nicaragua. Watching others getting crushed by the waves is one of my favorite things and enjoyed watching my six-foot five son doing just so. We laughed so much.
But that was the grand finale. Before that last day, we did so many other fun activities we haven’t done in many years. Let me share some of them:
- Watched fireworks on the 4th of July! My brother gave us a great show and all the kids (and grownups) lit up sparklers.
- Rented a pontoon with a slide. Yes, I went down on the slide and had to plug my nose!
- Rode on my brothers’ new Yamaha Wave Runners. No, I didn’t drive one but enjoyed riding with my husband.
- Played in the sand with my 18-month grand baby and made sandcastles that he immediately destroyed. At another time, I enjoyed bringing him a full cup of lake water and then watched him pour it over himself while sitting on a log we found on the beach. That was the game for twenty minutes.
- Got plenty of sun and didn’t need vitamin D supplement for the week.
- Listened to “boat music” – “Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffet is my favorite song to listen to on a boat.
- Played with Toby, my brother’s dog.
More Fun Activities!
- Read a fitness magazine.
- Slept 8 to 9 hours a night.
- Stayed at the beach ALL day from noon until sunset at 9 p.m. under a beach umbrella. But I still got burn on the right side of my body since I didn’t notice the sun had moved… (my right ear and half of my neck are red, the other ear and other side of my neck are not…)
- Took pictures of the beautiful sunsets, the beach, and the wind kite surfers—lots of them!
- Went to the sand dunes and drove a side-by-side ATV through the huge sand dunes… Well, I only drove it for about five minutes around the lake and then enjoyed watching my husband and my son and his girlfriend drive them for the rest of the two-hour rental time! Most people enjoy driving. I enjoy riding and looking around—and hanging on real tight!
- I read books to my grand baby. I brought a special book I wrote just for him that I hope to publish in the next couple of years: “Letters from Grandma – Your Journey until You Arrive.” He loves the pictures and I hope to read it to him many times.
You see, during this pandemic, we’ve been inside without being able to spend time with our loved ones nor go to or favorite places. But this pandemic is here to stay, at least for a while. And we must learn to live with it so we can enjoy our lives to the best of our ability despite the circumstances.
I will leave you with this question: When was the last time you played like a child? Pick at least one fun activity and do it with your family and pick one activity to do on your own. Doing so will refresh you and rejuvenate you. It will give you the energy you need to continue living somewhat restricted until the pandemic is over. And although I don’t believe we’ll ever go back to the “old normal” I think we will be better, stronger, and happier in the end. Play like a child.