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  • Writer's pictureHannah Shuman

Why Beach Baby?

Updated: Aug 16, 2021

You have probably caught on by now that I was born and raised in Florida. I should probably thank my parents every day for deciding to raise their children here because it has shaped who I am more than any other single factor in my life. When you are born and raised in paradise, it’s difficult to want anything else. . .

 

When I was growing up we lived far off the beaten path in a very agricultural part of Florida where forests of shady oaks and palmettos were our playground. We would ride our bikes down the dirt roads to pick oranges and grapefruits and watch the sunset over the horizon of never ending pastureland. And although my home was situated in the woods, there was no place I loved more as a child than the beach.


Living in Florida, you are never far from the shoreline and my beach of choice was the beautiful and quaint Anna Maria Island. I have been going to the beach since before I was even born as my mother has always been a huge beach-goer and I’m sure I made a few visits there when she was pregnant with me. I loved playing along the waves and digging my little feet in the sand. My mom would always call me her little beach baby and honestly it’s been something that has stuck with me over the years.


We use to spend the entire day out at Anna Maria lugging a cooler filled with water and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, more toys than necessary and an umbrella just in case it got too hot for us. Mom would watch from her beach chair as we played for hours in the surf.

We would pretend to be dolphins or mermaids or build drop castles with the powdery white sand. We would dig holes and look for coquinas or sand fleas and try to catch them before they disappeared back down into the sand. It was the childhood you would expect from anyone who’s lived in Florida their whole life and one I wouldn’t trade for the world.

 

Throughout high school, I dated little surfer-type boys that would take me out to the island after school and just sitting on the beach watching the sunset was one of the most treasured parts of my adolescence. Once I was able to drive, there may or may not have been a few beautiful afternoons that I thought the beach was a better idea than the classroom... (Sorry mom!) Even when I went off to college, I left what I thought was my dream school that was stuck in the swamp for one that was instead on the palm tree - lined streets of Boca Raton.

 

No matter where I have lived along my journey, I always gravitate back to the beach. There is something so therapeutic about the constant sound of the waves lapping along the shoreline, the warmth of the sun on your skin and the breeze blowing just enough to keep you cool. Floating in the ocean is like pausing real life for just that moment and letting yourself surrender to the power of Mother Nature. Long walks along the beach have always been my therapy. Being a beach baby has infiltrated my life in every way possible. I plan vacations around tropical places, I look for jobs and housing near beaches and any free time I have outside of work, you can almost always guarantee I'm at the beach.

If my mother hadn't shared her love of the beach with me, I am sure my life would be so different. I might have taken more to my country roots and be wearing wranglers instead of bikinis. But this life suits me. Sunshine makes me happy and salt water runs in my veins. And because of that, I will forever be my mom's little beach baby.



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