Who says southern California has crowded surf?

The glare of the computer screen dries out my eyes.  I rub them and adjust my glasses.

What time is it?  Ten more minutes and then I can slip out the back door.  Butterflies flit and flutter in my stomach, the excitement and adrenaline mounts. Almost as if I’m about to skip school.

I read emails with an air of seriousness, hunched over the keyboard.  But hiding behind the window is the browser with the surf forecast open.  Oh Surfline, please say it’s onshore and poor.  Oh please Bird from South Coast Surf Shop, tell those FM94.9 listeners to go for a bike ride, it’s just not worth it.  Oh please let the whole North County decide a surf just isn’t worth it today.

The forecast calls for small and poor conditions.  Perfect.

The clock hits twelve.  I weave through the maze of cubicles,  jump in the car and push legal driving techniques til I pull into the parking lot.  A couple of black forms bob in the grey-blue ocean, its surface slightly textured.  A set begins to feel the bottom.  I’m already ripping my jeans off and wiggling into my wetsuit.  A glance over the open trunk reveals a wave ridden all the way into the inside.  Small but not poor.  Definitely worth more than a bike ride.

I paddle out as a couple guys paddle in.  No one else out.  A little set takes shape over the fingers of the reef.  Quick repositioning to the peak.  The wave stands up and offers up a long wall, small but punchy enough.   All the way to the inside.  The next one goes right, softer but still peely.  After a while, I get that gut feeling.  Lunch is over.  But the tide’s dropping now, and it’s getting better.  And still no one’s out.  I scrape into a little one, float the end section and belly in to the beach.  Running back up the cliff, I turn around one more time.  A perfect head-high set rolls through.  And still no one’s out.  Thanks Surfline.

Year One

One year.  One year ago, she became a baby.  A real physical tangible separate being.  No longer a bump, a heartbeat, a movement of the belly.  A beautiful creature that inspired awe and occasionally worry and fear from us.

“Are we doing this right?  Is she hungry?  Should we change her?” 

All standard thoughts of new parents who are thrilled and frightened at the sight of such a small being.  Communication reduced to a pattern of crying, sucking, and sleeping.  In all honesty, infants are simple and at the same time very very scary.

One year.  It goes so fast.  Such a cliché phrase.  And yet, looking back, we’ve accomplished so much.  We can change a diaper one handed.  We can function on no sleep.  We can dress her as she runs.  We can fold a multitude of strollers.  We can anticipate crankiness (most of the time).  We can make baby food.  We can filter what kinds of new foods she can eat.  We can understand her.

It feels as though we’ve blinked and our vulnerable, floppy little baby has transformed into a little girl that runs, climbs, goes down the slide, squeals with delight at the sight of a dog.  Albeit, she still has hardly a hair more than at birth.

But after a year, we feel satisfied that she’s turning out pretty good.  And when you love something that much, nothing is scary anymore.  Just fun.