Every morning I am grateful to walk on beautiful Samara Beach with my little border collie. We play frisbee as I enjoy the surf, watch the changes in the tides, the color of the water and the sky and see which birds are passing through. It is an amazing little world.
One morning, not long ago, I was just beyond the Spanish school Intercultura, walking toward Rio Lagarto. Intercultura has always maintained the area in front of the school like a beachside park, but their example now stretches all the way to the river.
The biggest change has been Bar Olas, which was once a place that I avoided, almost feared, but a new owner has completely changed the ambience. This once uninviting spot has become welcoming and pleasant. They have also added covered seating with views across the beach, the ocean and beyond to Isla Chora.
The bar has been freshened up and a new hostel has been constructed just behind it. Next door, Samara Surf Trips has added a white stone lined path and a public bench in the shade. Between Intercultura and Samara Surf Trips, a lovely young family has created The Relaxation Spot, a serene retreat where you can rent a room or experience a massage overlooking the sea (sometimes at a discount for those willing to help keep the beach clean by picking up trash and turning it into the owner, Cheryl Adams). The area also includes two public volleyball courts. In the midst of all of these improvements someone has constructed a simple swing.
I was enjoying my walk, but also feeling a bit melancholy. It was my baby boy’s birthday and he is far away. I should explain that my “baby boy” is a 6’3” grown man, with a lovely wife and a home of his own. That, however, does not change the fact that he is always and forever my baby. It was just as I was longing to be close to him that I looked up toward the palms and saw a mother rocking her child to sleep on the swing as the little one snuggled against her. Watching them brought back a flood of very special memories from when my own son was little.
When I walked up to the trees I realized the mother on the swing was my friend Maria with her little girl, Africa. We both knew what the other was thinking. We may be a generation apart, but we were two moms sharing an understanding of the beauty and importance of all of those special moments. Rocking your child to sleep. Singing softly to your child with him nestled in your lap. First steps. First words. All of those things that tell a mother her child is healthy and growing strong. All of the things that tell you he knows he is loved and safe in your arms. Wanting him to grow up, but also wanting desperately to hold onto your sweet baby.
To watch your child learn to balance and hold on to a swing, then understand he has the power to fly, simply by stretching his legs forward, then tucking them under, flying first out and over the sea, then back and up into the trees feels like being a mother bird watching her nestling learn to fly.
There is nothing like the sound of the delighted giggle squealed by a toddler flying so high. So bittersweet. In the blink of an eye that toddler on a swing will be an adult.
A swing connects parent to child, adult to childhood. Learning to swing without needing a push is a right of passage every child should experience and every parent should witness. It may be just a board and some rope, but that swing is a beautiful addition to Samara. Thank you to whomever built it.