We hadn’t been to the beach all summer. This is actually pretty hard to do, living in Southern California. But last Friday, I realized that this was one of our last chances, as Hannah would be starting school on Tuesday, so we headed for the beach late that afternoon. We spent the afternoon in the sand down in South Laguna, checking out a new beach we had never visited. Just before sunset, we cruised back up scenic Pacific Coast Highway to Newport Beach, to have dinner at the Ruby’s shake shack at the top of the hill, overlooking the beach at Crystal Cove.  We’d been to Crystal Cove so many times over the years, a family favorite spot, and several times, to this spot for burgers. The burger was good, the fries, even better, and the view, magnificent.I thought about the last time we were there as a family, having burgers with Dragon and Nick, and Val and Paolo.  I thought about Dragon — body surfing, digging for sand crabs, exploring tidepools. I had been avoiding the beach all summer — too many summer beach memories over the years.  And I feel guilty for enjoying the beach — really, for enjoying anything without Dragon.  It’s hard, being in the presence of beauty, knowing that Dragon is not here with us to share it.

But Hannah deserved a day at the beach, and so we went.

I wept the whole way home.