“Dad!” Nick shouts while emerging from the shower. “I surfed!”
And he did – his first session since the diabetes diagnosis last September. I’d watched the buoys and wind all afternoon, and decided nothing was keeping me from a fine evening session. Then I looked at conditions one more time (3 at 12, a windless west swell) thought maybe, just maybe, the Jetty would be sheltered and perfect for Nick. I offered to take him. He agreed.
We cruised down Samoa past the 20 trucks stacked up at Power Poles. I bet the waves were beautiful there, probably coming in chest-to-head high, likely barrelling, the gray-blue water and silver sky melting into each other all liquid glass. The kids might be ready for that this summer; tonight Nick needed something fun and easy.
As we lugged our gear out to the Jetty (oh, what I would give for a 4WD), I peered out, worried that the Jetty would be too protected and have nothing at all. We had extra food (four Luna bars and applesauce) and extra emergency sugars (Nick feared the cold water and exertion could cause a severe blood sugar drop).
When we reached the Jetty proper, small, clean waves peeled from a consistent peak. Waist-high to Nick these waves, but when you’re only 85 lbs., you don’t need much. Rights, lefts, close to shore, next to the wide channel. Beautiful.
We checked his blood sugar; the number was perfect – the high end of the “good” range. He carbed up with a Luna bar, then the process of suiting up began. Myself, I can tug a wetsuit and booties on in five, throw some wax on the board, charge on in. With the kids, the amount of stuff they need on their bodies is greater: wetsuit, rashguard, booties, gloves, hood. I put two rashguards on Nick, one with a hood and another one over that, because his suit doesn’t have a hood – this is a common flaw with “junior” suits. Why the industry leaves hoods off of kids suits, I don’t understand. Parents obviously want to protect their children’s ears and keep them warm.
Once all the pertinent neoprene covered all the right bits, we hit the water. Seals abounded. Pelicans splashed. Nick caught a wave. I watched him zoom away and felt my mouth curve up into pure happiness. “Woohoo!” I hollered. “Yeah, Nick!” He paddled back out, grinning. He caught another. He goofed around near shore, grinning and laughing. He came back out and had a wipeout, but not a bad one. “Well, there’s that,” I assured him. “Always good to get the wipeout out of the way!” He caught another one in, conversed with Sandy, played around some more.
After a good 45 minutes, I said we should get out. He lingered, but after one last near-shore wave, exited the water. We checked his blood sugar – concerned for a moment that we wouldn’t be able to get blood from his cold-shriveled hand – it was exactly where we’d hoped the number would be.
I’m still smiling.