This weekend was shaping up to be like any other when an amazing thing happened — everybody canceled on me.
Now normally, I freak out and fly into panic mode when events I’m supposed to cover fall through and interviews are postponed but this weekend it was more like a happy accident.
I suddenly had the weekend off.
No plans, no festivals, no meetings — just two whole days off with nothing scheduled and nowhere to be. A rare event, especially in my line of work.
So, I did what anyone would do with a tank full of gas and zero responsibilities: I threw my kids in the car and we headed to the beach.
Despite the fact none of us are actually from here, I have a lot of family in the Charleston area. I plugged my cousin’s address into the GPS and off we went.
It was the best decision I have made in a really long time.
We had two glorious days of sunshine, ocean breezes, family and friends. My kids played with their cousin and I got caught up with my aunts and had the opportunity to see my grandma, which happens much less often than it should.
On Sunday, we met up with my brothers-in-law for breakfast and took the kids out to the boardwalk and then Sullivan’s Island.
I brought my camera with me in the hopes of seeing one of those Portuguese man-of-war that keep washing up on Carolina beaches but never did spot one.
That’s actually probably a good thing …
The best part of the trip was seeing my youngest son, Sam, experience the ocean for the first time.
Ben, my oldest, is content to play in the sand and maybe dip his toes in the water but anything more than ankle-deep water sends him scurrying back to the shore.
This was not the case with Sam …
As soon as I set him down in the sand he broke into a run for the water — just pumping those little not-quite-two-year-old legs as fast as he could.
I jogged slowly behind him, taking pictures, and waiting for him to reach the shoreline where I was sure the water touching his feet would cause him to stop — or at the very least hesitate.
I was wrong.
That kid bolted into the surf like David Hasslehoff, squealing in absolute delight. I don’t know where he thought he was going, but he only stopped when I scooped him up after he reached chest-deep water.
Because I had no time to strip into my swimsuit before chasing him, my shoes and shorts were soaked as I carried him back up the beach so I could at least kick off my sandals.
As soon as I set him back down, he was off again.
This was our routine for the remainder of the afternoon.
Eventually, I waded out to about waist deep water and let him “swim” around me with me holding him around his belly — the whole time expecting him to show at least some sort of hesitation.
There never was any. Not when waves splashed his face, not when he couldn’t touch — nothing. He was like baby Aqua-man — I had never seen anything like it.
When it was finally time to go, we all headed back up the sand to the path that headed over to where we were parked. I carried Sam who looked over my shoulder — arms out stretched — crying to go back.
He’s not the only one. I want to go back too.
Kasie Strickland is a staff writer for The Sentinel-Progress and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not necessarily represent the newspaper’s opinion.