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The Day’s Delight: Both/And

Being a good parent doesn’t mean your kid loves the same things you do, but it was a gratifying and proud moment when I walked down to the beach on the East Bay and saw, among the loose clusters of tourists, my kid and two friends, swimming, in their clothes.

He’s old enough (and trustworthy enough) that he gets to roam around town fairly often, and I don’t know what exactly he gets up to, though I know the general route and most of the company. But like one of those Family Circus comics, I don’t really know any more about his adventures than I do about my cat’s.

But here he was, doing the very thing I’d come to do, in the very spot. And those kids were hilarious. Such a great dynamic of three confident, strong personalities, each with their own flair. They dunked under on the count of three, then covered each other in sun-hot rocks. They had clearly already stopped by the candy store, and there were plans in the works for the rest of the afternoon.

I joined them for a round of dunking and rock basking, then I took the paddle board up the bay, through the narrow channel at the tip of Artist’s Point, and around to the lighthouse. (I saw neighbor kids there, teenagers, doing an older version of jumping in the lake). I took my turn there, too, my first leap off the breakwall this summer, which is leaving it a bit late if you care about that sort of thing, which it turns out, I don’t.

Then I paddled back and packed up, I delivered the pair of still damp sweatpants that were hanging on my side mirror (and which had been exchanged for swim trunks, ironically), and shifted back into a more adult orbit: groceries, some procrastinated to-do’s with my schedule, eating a proper supper and even washing the dishes right away.

But I chatted with neighbors, I went to visit a friend, I ate a little ice cream. And, conversely, my kid watered the garden for me.

So overall, I think we’re all the same.


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