By Sally Torbey
About this blog: About this blog: I have enjoyed parenting five children in Palo Alto for the past two decades and have opinions about everything to do with parenting kids (and dogs). The goal of my blog is to share the good times and discuss the ... (More)
About this blog: About this blog: I have enjoyed parenting five children in Palo Alto for the past two decades and have opinions about everything to do with parenting kids (and dogs). The goal of my blog is to share the good times and discuss the challenges of having a satisfying family life in a community where parents set a high bar for themselves, their children, and the schools and organizations that educate and socialize them. I grew up in the Midwest, attended a small liberal arts college on the East Coast and graduated from medical school in Chicago. I left a pediatric residency to care for our then infant son and spent the next dozen years contentedly gestating and lactating while having four more children. My husband grew up in the Middle East, came to the US for graduate school and works in high tech. Our eldest son graduated from a UC, and after working in the Middle East for a few years, now attends law school in NYC. Our eldest daughter graduated from a Midwestern Big Ten University and is a journalist in Texas. Our middle child studies engineering at a UC. The youngest two girls are in middle and high school in PAUSD. We are celebrating 20 years as PAUSD parents! I volunteer in the public schools, our church, and scouting. (Hide)
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The day after school is out, my kids and I pack a picnic, gather friends, and head to Half Moon Bay and the beach. I grew up in the Midwest, and enjoyed spending childhood summers either submerged in or afloat on lakes and river, but I thrill at the realization that I now live within a short drive of a coast with sandy beach, crashing waves, and salty sea air.
For the first dozen or so years of this tradition, our destination was Martin's Beach. With toddlers and babies along, we appreciated the convenient parking, picnic tables, tide pools, and flush toilets. A few years back we were disappointed to find the road locked and our favorite beach inaccessible, so we continued south to San Gregorio State Beach, which we now love for the endless expanse of sand, the lagoon for splashing, copious driftwood for construction, and sheltering cliffs with caves. We miss flush toilets, though.
No predictable relationship exists between the weather on this side of the hill and the ocean side. On Hwy 92 we left the sunshine behind and drove down the coast through thick, wet fog. But the beach was calm and warmer than expected, so the kids were soon pealing off sweatshirts and getting soaked in the ocean spray. Kites, sand castles, or whiffle ball are often the activities of choice, but this year a recent high tide had deepened the lagoon, so the kids spent hours floating while straddling or standing on massive driftwood logs and paddling in circles with sand shovels. Logs roll readily, so there was a lot of shrieking and splashing as they balanced precariously and slipped off the make-shift boats.
We end the day with hot chocolate from the drive-through coffee booth in Half Moon Bay. In a few years my youngest kids will be able to drive themselves to the beach, so my presence will no longer be essential, but I'm hoping that if I keep bringing brownies and treat for hot chocolate, they might let me tag along!