Wednesday, June 8, 2011
If something amazing and truly worthy of a photo opportunity occurs, I am usually the one who has just turned their head for a split second, missing everything, only to hear the "oohs" and "aaahhhs" of my family reveling in what they just witnessed. I've missed goals, perfect landings, certificates of award from the President printed on colored card stock, and a series of other special events moms are supposed to be clicking their cameras on. My timing is off by just a millisecond and the world can change in that tiny moment of time. I'm certain if an alien invasion ever occurs, I will be head down, rifling through a box of popcorn or digging under my chair for someone's lost shoe. I will miss the introduction to the new life form and have to ask them to kindly recreate the scene so I can capture it on my Handycam.
While at the beach this week, Shark boy, in the above photo, was moving in on my territory with his cute smile, foreign accent and eye for my girls. Of all moves intended to impress a couple of young girls, I would have never expected him to reach down into the Atlantic waters around their feet and whisk out a baby shark, as if he does this everyday. I was, of course, rifling though my bag of multi-SPF lotions and sunblock, digging for a tissue to keep the sand out of my Pina Colada, when I heard those familiar "ooohss" and "ahhhhs." What had I missed... again?! I, instinctively, grabbed for the camera, still unaware if it was an alien takeover or just a good hair moment that needed to be photographed. I knew it was something cool, though. And there, as I looked up with a Pina Colada milk mustache, is Shark boy with tiny shark in hand. The girls' shoulders instantly drew forward in some genetically instinctive act of coyness like Wally Cleaver's girlfriend when he donned his argyle sweater. They oohed and ahhed and giggled as waves of doubt washed over me and Shark boy's self confidence beamed like a beacon from a lighthouse. Surely, that boy didn't just grab a live shark, I thought. In yet another act of greatness, he gently places the tiny man eating sea critter back into the waters to swim away, showing his sensitive animal activist side. I managed to pull myself up from my beach chair that was already six inches deep into the wet sand and walked up to this trio of kids. Like an investigator, I questioned him on how this happened. People just don't reach into the water and pull out live fish unless you live on the Blue Lagoon and are working a movie set. With excellent manners and a boyish foreign accent, Shark Boy offers to go grab another shark for me to see. I knew the sun was hot and the rum had been flowing straight from my blender to my beachy little spot by the shore, but I was keenly aware that this was not normal. The three ran back into the sea. The girls normally scream when seaweed touches their feet, but now they were knee deep with this mystery boy walking with the sharks, safeguarded by his aura of self esteem. It was a scary glimpse of the future, filled with ooohhs and ahhhs that I know will never be intended for me to capture on film. It took only moments and they returned from the sea with yet another baby shark in hand. The girls giggled, the boy beamed and my older son was googling away, researching Shark boy on the Internet to determine his actual name, Facebook profile, age and political affiliation. We all petted the little shark, snapped a few photos and then released him back into the waters to rejoin his family of killers. I took another sip of my sandy Colada, whispered a little prayer that the sharks will always stay far away from my girls, and took my place back in the sand next to my son. As I closed my eyes in the summer sun, I heard the familiar "ping" sound of an email being sent. Pictures of sharks and pretty girls were being uploaded and sent across country. I found out later that one additional message went out from the shoreline.... a simple and easy to understand message from my son to Shark boy that simply said, "They're 12." We did not see him after that, but pictures will last forever.