“The Promise of Spring,” March 9, 2021

Sometimes, when it seems winter will never end, it helps to get a promise of spring. This morning, two of my favorite girls (my daughter and a daughter-in-law) planned a family get-together at the beach. Not everyone in the family could make it. But those of us who live nearby (five to 30 minutes away) showed up.

There was my husband, sitting on the steps that go down to the beach, where it was easier to get back up, he said, than on the blanket in the sand, where I sat bundled up in a Polarfleece jacket like a beached grandmother whale.

There was my son, my youngest, offering to drive home to get me a beach chair, fetching me coffee from the snackbar, attending to my every need.

There were my girls, watching over their little ones the way I once watched over mine.

And there were four of the eight grandchildren my husband and I share in our big, blended family, ages 10, 9, 7 and 5, laughing and cavorting in wet suits in the frigid waves like seriously cute sea otters.

I wish you could’ve seen them.

It was a glorious sunny day, only 55 degrees, not balmy, but bearable. Lots of folks were on the beach, trying like us, to keep a safe distance apart. Most, but not all, were wearing masks.

If you’ve never tried it, take it from me, it’s weird wearing a mask at the beach. I didn’t like it, but I did it. There are lots of things we don’t like about living in a pandemic. But we do them because we like being alive.

This beautiful cove—Lovers Point in Pacific Grove, Calif.—holds so many memories for me. I raised my three children in an 80-year-old house about a 10-minute walk from here. We spent countless hours in every season on this and other beaches along this peninsula.

Their dad taught and coached at Monterey High nearby for almost 30 years, until we lost him to cancer. The kids grew up, married and had kids of their own. My oldest is an actor and a writer. My daughter is a teacher. And my youngest, who’s now a realtor, taught third grade for seven years at the school where he went to third grade. If I seem proud, it’s because I am.

I remarried years ago. My husband and I live in Carmel Valley, 20 miles from here. Today, on the beach, I pointed to the snackbar and told Henry, my grandson, how his mom worked there as a teenager.

Then I stood, looking out at the bay with my youngest, who wrapped me in a bear hug (when my boys hug you, you know you’ve been hugged) as I asked him this question:

“Do you remember,” I said, “when you were little, like your babes are now, when we came here, just you and me? I’d sit on a blanket and watch you boogie board in the surf. You’d keep at it until you turned blue. Then you’d run to me and I’d wrap you in a blanket and hold you until you stopped shaking. Then you’d go back and do it again?”

He laughed. “Yes, Mom,” he said, “I remember it well.”

Before leaving, I exchanged “I love you’s” with my loved ones. I don’t know if they needed it, but I did. Then my husband and I drove home to Carmel Valley.

This evening, we bundled up again and went out, as we do most days, to watch the sunset. The sky was turquoise. The air was cold. The sun was slowly sliding over a mountain we call Chocolate Drop.

Flocks of geese flew honking back to the river to bed down for the night. Wild turkeys gobbled in the distance. Frogs croaked. Hummingbirds buzzed. Dogs barked like they meant business. And on a plum tree that my husband had pruned and feared he had killed, we saw the first signs of life with tiny buds of snow white blooms.

Start to finish, it was a gift, a winter day filled with family and the promise of spring to come.

A promise isn’t everything. But sometimes, it’s enough.

(Sharon Randall’s new novel, “TheWorld and Then Some,” is available in bookstores and from amazon.com.)

Comments

  1. Marie Hartranft says:

    Such a beautiful column. You write so well I believe I did see you snd your family on the beach! However, it boggles my mind that it was 55 degrees bkz when I think of California I just think of a warm and sunny day. I live in southeastern part of Pennsylvania and today we had a sunny day with a temperature of 75 degrees! It was so beautiful my grandchildren and I went to the back yard and played.. well they played. I sat on the patio in a comfortable rocking chair and enjoyed their laughter and screaming as they played. Music to a grandmothers ears.
    I love your columns and already looking forward to next weeks column. Thanks for giving me something to look forward to every week especially during the pandemic.

  2. Mariruth Coffin says:

    Sharon, I’m right there with you at PG’s Lovers Point. On memory lane, at least. Tucson is a far cry from the ocean. My 2021 dream is to take a road trip there this summer to spend hours and hours with family and friends and definitely all my favorite beach spots.

    I just finished reading your novel and loved it!!! Your writing envelops me in the story to the point of living in it!
    Are you writing another? I especially loved the ending in The World and Then Some. You could easily write a series! You already have a huge fan base. I’m so glad I know you and enjoyed learning about your adult children. I’m proud of mine too. Starting with my youngest Melanie, who went to school with Nathan. She works in forensic science for the Salinas Police Department. Kyle is a senior pastor here in Tucson and also teaches Bible classes at Desert Christian High School here in Tucson. His four adult children all live here PLUS all six grandchildren (my greats!!!). Melissa is in San Jose with two children in high school who have been at home all year. She’s a financial advisor. Kerri works at Mercedes Benz in Monterey and has three grown children, all working and doing well.
    Blessings coming your way!

  3. Kate Sciacca says:

    Sounds like a perfect day. No beach activity up at the lake (Tahoe) this week… I’m looking out the window at three inches of snow… that no forecaster had predicted. Blessings on you and all your dear ones.

  4. Deb Weisgerber says:

    Our favorite spot! You were so kind to come meet us there back in 2005 at a quaint B&B (St. Angela Inn). I still remember how you explained that it’s original name was “Lovers of Jesus Point”. You have us “California Dreaming” on a cold Ohio day!
    (Also enjoyed your “Dutch Babies” for brunch on Sunday after your column in our Defiance Crescent News on 3/6. Defiance, Ohio loves you!)

  5. Joy Dunne says:

    Yesterday, I offered to sit in my son and daughter in laws yard for an hour and a half so she could take their youngest to the dentist while I was available to the older one – 9 years old- in case he got scared at being alone in the house. Because of the pandemic, & some of my son’s employees have gotten it. They don’t go inside anyone’s house, or allow anyone in theirs- until they can get vaccinated. They thought about my offer, had a long adult chat, then called to ask if the child could come to our house, since we are fully vaccinated. You bet I said yes!! We get together every weekend- outside- rain or shine, but they have not been inside in months. I am so looking forward to some family time in our house! We’re talking about going camping at the ocean , after the parents are vaccinated. That will be wonderful, but right now i’ll Make cookies and look forward to just having one 9 year old in our house.

  6. CHope Hall says:

    Wonderful memories for sure. I live too far from the ocean here in SW IN so that is out of the question for us. It is so beautiful sitting and watching the waves and the sea birds. Thanks for helping me remember those beautiful things. Take care and keep the mask on. We’ve had our vaccines but we still wear ours just as a safety measure. Hopefully we’ll see our great grandkids soon. We love reading your memories.

  7. Gail Tancreto says:

    I am so there in the wonderfully vivid description of the beach at Lovers Point. It has been one of our favorite spots for more than 50 years. Thanks for the memories!

  8. ALICE DURHAM says:

    Thank you Sharon for sharing these memories and encouragement.
    Alice

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