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This past Sunday was the last day of our kids’ “winter break” and we decided to take them to the beach. After all, we were in the 80s and the sun was fiercely hot and the beach beckoned. The only evidence of winter on our beaches were the stranded jellyfish (to which B vehemently identified as Portuguese Man of War) that invade our waters during the winter months –in blue and purple heaps they lay scattered and twisted on the sand. Thankfully our kids were not stung.

The day was crisp, sunny and bright. The kids frolicked (yes, frolicked) on the sand while a few topless women tanned nearby. It was interesting, to say the least, to explain why some women are topless or why some women might wear a thong to the beach. Sophie was intrigued by them, Maya looked around in apparent distaste (every good family has at least one Republican), and Ryder wore a grin from ear-to-ear (the same grin he wears each time he has to spell a word with a double ‘p’.)  

Soon enough they were inured to their surroundings, and they settled into the sand and to the idea that people are strange creatures with strange bathing habits. They dug deep holes and built elaborately dilapidated sand castles which succumbed to nearly every wave. We heard people speaking in different languages — Spanish, French, Italian — and once again, I felt grateful for the exposure to different cultures and languages our children benefit from everyday as South Floridians.

Of course, I could do without some of the over-exposure, but c’est la vie!

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