As a Midwest native, there is simple nothing like taking in your first view of the ocean while on a vacation. You may have seen a large body of water before, perhaps even a great lake. But there is nothing like the ocean. Endless, blue, churning, alive. Our family trip to Florida last week took us to two big beaches, Hightower and Cocoa Beach. We had a blast at both...for the most part.

Hitting the beach was our first official activity of vacation 2021. Our flight arrived late Monday night, and Tuesday morning, after a quick breakfast, we were off to a surfing hotspot at Hightower Beach. Relatives suggested we visit this location to really get an authentic look at a real Florida beach. It was high tide when we visited on Tuesday and the waves did not disappoint! The kids had a blast as the water crashed into them. Chase was the most adventurous, heading a bit farther out with a cousin.

Holly was the first to get a taste of what the ocean could do. She was heading in to shore and was only in about a foot and a half of water when a wave crashed into her and knocked her off balance and down to her knees. She laughed, but didn't realize another wave was quickly behind it. That one hit her, rolled her, and left her picking sand out of dark places for several days. I laughed out loud. I should have shut up.

The ocean has a way of evening the score. I was making my way back toward shore a bit later. I don't normally wear my glasses while swimming, but I wanted them on here, so I could keep an eye on the kids and where they were at in the ocean. I was a few feet from shore when a large wave hit me from behind. I stumbled a bit, and when I got up I realized that my glasses were gone. I quickly put my hands in the water to find them. Just as my left hand touched my frames, another wave crashed down and it was my turn to get rolled. Glasses gone.

After the shock wore off, we spent the next several minutes hoping that the tide might bring them back to shore. When that didn't happen, I sat on the beach wondering if the rest of my Florida vacation would be seen through the eyes of someone who doesn't have glasses. Fortunately, we got my prescription faxed to a shop in the town we were in and six hours later, I had a new pair of glasses, and a story to tell.

"The ocean giveth, and the ocean taketh away." - Ryan Brainard, 2021

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