December 11, 2011 at 6:59 am , by Nick Shell
Last week our son Jack got to experience the beautiful state of Florida for the first time. Thanks to Chevy inviting us to test drive a Volt from Fort Myers to Key West, we stayed our first night at the Hilton in Naples.
The next morning, Jack decided he wanted us all to go watch the sun rise together, because he woke us up with just enough time to take him out to the beach right behind the hotel.
I’m not sure that I have ever watched the sun rise on the beach, but as the dad and husband, I figured it was my duty to make sure my son and wife saw this legendary event. If nothing else, it was pretty Clark Griswald of me.
We had the whole beach to ourselves. Since Jack always loves his bath time every night, we assumed he would love the beach.
He didn’t like the sand between his toes. He didn’t like the ocean waves rushing towards him. He is no beach bum; that’s for sure.
Jack preferred to ride on my shoulders the whole time, admiring the ocean from a distance.
He liked when the three of us started walking along the beach, encountering plenty of mysterious crustaceans. We saved the lives of several shelled creatures that had been washed up on shore during the night. Before tossing each one back into the ocean, I would let Jack visually inspect it for approval.
We even found a live sea crab outside of his shell, looking for a new home. Hopefully, I was doing him a favor when I scooped him up and threw him back in the water. I was attempting to save him from being eating by one of the many birds flying above.
As for the most unique seashells that had already been evacuated, they are now serving as decoration at our house back in Nashville. (Because of our last name, it only makes sense we should incorporate shells into the theme of one of our rooms.)
In the meantime, my wife Jill saw dolphins occasionally popping up in the distance (though it may have been the same one?) and would point them out to me just in time to catch a glimpse.
I especially enjoyed finding a live starfish. It made me think of that classic (if not cliche) story about the boy who walked along the beach throwing all the starfish back into the sea. He is approached and questioned by an old man who warns him he will never be able to save all the stranded starfish in time, wanting to know why he should even bother. Then as the boy throws another starfish into the water, he replies, “It mattered to that one.”
Turning the starfish over, I showed Jack and Jill its thousands of tiny moving feet, proving it was indeed still alive. I then explained to them (as if a one year-old had a clue what I was saying…) that a starfish’s stomach leaves its body to digest its food externally.
We had gone out to the beach to see the sunrise and to let our son fall in love with the ocean. Instead, Jack was terrified of the sand and water. At least he got a free lesson in marine biology, thanks to his old man.
To see more pictures from our trip, and a video clip of Jack’s first time experiencing of sand and ocean waves, indulge yourself in The Dadabase Facebook page.