Every summer, we pack up the kids and the dog and whatever else we can stuff in the car and head to a tiny beach in Connecticut. Let me preface this story by stating that I am not a beach person. My ancestors come from a place where damp is a season, and I spend most of my time slathering sunscreen on myself and anyone related to me who will hold still long enough. But the beach in Connecticut is a tradition, going back generations on my husband’s side, and I have come to accept that I will spend a good portion of my summer camped out under an umbrella, hiding from the sun’s rays with a bunch of other pigmentally challenged individuals.
There are two reasons in particular that I am not fond of the beach: I have to wear a bathing suit and there are sharks. Let us address the more upsetting of these two reasons first. The beach is tiny, as I mentioned, and as you step onto it for the first time that season it feels as if everyone turns around to say hello. For years I agonized over finding the right piece of spandex-lycra combination that would make me look taller/thinner/more in shape, that would make people think “Whoa, she looks good,” rather than “Um, hey, have you heard the beach shack started selling Skinny Cow pops this year?”
Then there are the sharks. I read Jaws way too young, and the memory of it has stayed with me for life. I am seriously convinced that when I step into the water, someone rings a dinner bell, and all the sharks out cruising in the ocean start hightailing it my way. I usually manage to stay in the water for about five minutes before panic sets in and I have to retreat back to the umbrella.
This has gone on forever. But then a few years ago, my son figured out how to walk, and the entire matrix changed. Instead of trying to find a suit that made me look good, I needed to find one that would stay on as I hauled down the boardwalk at warp speed, intent on keeping someone who could not swim from throwing himself in the water. When people stopped me to say hello, I was too busy to wonder what they thought of how I looked — I just hoped all pertinent parts were still covered.
Last year he learned how to swim, and several times attempted to make it to Long Island. (I lost my cell phone to the Sound jumping in after him the first time.) Now that he’s in the water, I kind of have to be too. And while I still spend a good portion of the time splashing the shallows and hollering at him to come back, I’ve found that sometimes you just have to dive in and swim, sharks be damned.
So, with that long-winded prologue, I’d like to introduce my website. I’m diving in and hoping I’ve got all pertinent bits covered. Let me know what you think.
I am enjoying your site immensly, and really look forward to your book. Good luck
Thank you so much Fran!
I am glad to learn that I am not the only one who learned of Jaws too early and thinks of them every time I get in the water. That means this irrational fear is normal, right? It has only taken me about 20 years of knowing you to learn that we share this psychopathology!
My 5-y-o son actually learned to swim this summer as he pretended to be a whale shark (they only eat plankton and krill, not people). He and I enjoy watching shark week together, from the comfort and safety of our couch. (FYI they suspect the real Jaws was a bull shark and not a great white — bull sharks have been found in fresh water rivers all over the world).
I read a really good book (good in the sense that it terrified me completely) called Close to Shore, about a rogue bull shark at the turn of the last century. You might enjoy it, if you plan to only swim in pools from now on. 🙂
Thomas and I know all about the bull shark. We watch shark week. They go near the mouths of rivers after storms to get all the fish that are caught in the storm surge. One bull shark swam all the way up the Mississippi River to Illinois. How many more are lurking unseen?
Thomas is way braver than I am! I can’t even watch them on tv — the book I mentioned was more than enough. And thanks for your comments about my web site — I’m glad you like it!
Totally off-topic, your website is awesome! And that’s an excellent photo in your bio.