Her small hand reaches up to mine. We walk with a purpose down the boards. Her cadence broken every few steps with a skip. The excitement builds.
A warm April afternoon.
The unofficial start of summertime, as the boardwalk wakes from it's winter slumber.
Our new Easter ritual, not performed in Church, but rather here, next to the ocean.
The salty air blowing strands of her hair into her face, as her eyes focus on the goal.
Already the year since our last visit has magnified her growth. She was content sitting in the stroller, sucking her thumb, observing, next to her infant sister a mere twelve months prior, but now, the shoulder straps could not contain her.
Around, around, she went.
Up and down and all around on the carousel.
Her fears conquered as she climbed the rope ladder, ran across the bridge, and descended the inflatable slide.
Toddler hood had escaped her sometime in this twelve month span.
Eloquence and fluency had replaced the babble.
Poise in place of immaturity.
Sometime over the past three years She had emerged, not a baby, but a little perfect person.
I held her hand tightly as our bodies navigate the crowd. Scanning, my eyes meet with a barrage of colorful signs.
Fresh Squeezed Lemonade!
We continue on our quest. Our feet fall into a synchronized rhythm as we search.
The giggle meets the salty air, as she spies it and raises her hand.
"I see it Mama!" she yells, "I see ice cream!"