Lily seems to like homeschooling as long as PE involves a trip to the beach. Conveniently, it’s our last class for the day and we both happily abandon the first grade struggle with literacy. It is February so only a few bodies dot the water. Most are content with the second hand information going around: Too cold! Way Too COLD! So basically, everyone is lined up in beach chairs, enjoying the sun, watching the water roll in and waiting for something interesting to emerge on the horizon. Enter Lily. All eyes are on her from the moment she enters the water. It is impossible not to watch a six-year-old loving the surf. Especially when she is the only one in the water. She charges in and gets deep enough for the surf to knock her down. She takes a few hits, gasping with the shock, laughing, jumping and collapsing in the oncoming wavelets. Then, she goes deeper. Now the waves are gently lifting her as they roll in. As you watch, you begin to wonder just how deep she is and just how well she gets her footing after each wave passes. Here comes a big one. I feel that we ashore are all collectively waiting and watching. Her head goes under and all that can be seen is a line of foamy water moving in. The long second passes and then, there she is, just the back of her head and two feet kicking away their little rhythm. Kick. Kick. Kick. Drift. Up for Air. Kick. Kick. Kick. Drift. She meanders a bit trying for deeper water again. She takes a breath and struggles a little bit in an attempt to dive, feet now straight above her kicking pure air. There’s the head again and she’s now moving shallower, enjoying the easy ride home with only an occasional kick to adjust the trajectory. All the sudden she stands up and you realize just how shallow the water is now. In that instant of her arising in the knee-deep water, there was the illusion of a much older girl than the one who just ran so merrily in. The girl looks around to get her bearings on Mom while Mom gets her bearings, too. Mom acknowledges the girl is growing too fast but there’s still a lot of little girl in her. A lot, she thinks, as the girl goes back to her fight to hold back the tide with her little, swimsuit-clad body. Each failure is, of course, no reason to give up. No reason at all.