When I was going through a little emotional “rough patch” almost ten years ago… one of my good friends introduced me to surfing… and it was clear as day that it was something that resonated with my soul.

I had been looking for something physical to do that I would feel passionate about (I had been a gymnast for seventeen years, and I hadn’t found anything that could give me the kind of adrenaline rush that competitions had given me).

I also desired a mental “cleanse”… something that would allow me to rid my mind of anything else for just a few hours at a time (this… I realized later… would be my form of meditation).

… and who doesn’t love an excuse to get to the beach as much as possible?

This surf adventure began before I became pregnant with my first child, Parker.

Throughout my pregnancy, and after having my son… I knew it would be difficult to get back in the water… but I managed to find ways here and there, although sometimes six months would pass before I found myself on a wave again.

A second pregnancy that miscarried, and then a third that resulted in my beautiful daughter Avery, made the drive to Malibu even tougher, and the hours away from work and home seem frivolous… but I was determined. I was not only determined to surf again, but also to have my children (starting with my son)… surf with me.

After planting the seed by bringing him with me on extended beach days where we would sit and watch the waves… I made a deal with him that if he reached the highest level of his swim class (a gold cap)… I would get him his own surf coach.

Of course I had an ulterior motive.

If he had a surf coach… I would have an excuse to surf too 😉 .

But it wasn’t just about surfing.

It was about bonding with Parker in my own way. It was about choosing something special that would bind us together and teach him lessons that we could both be a part of… in “real time”.

Like if you want to do something and it involves carrying your own board for half a mile… then you have to carry your own board (See that face above? That’s a “MOM… I don’t want to carry my board” face.” Me: “It’s part of the deal kiddo.”

It was about facing fears, taking his first big tumble, getting hit on the head with his board (thank God for soft tops)…

… and getting back up again.

It was also about seeing his mom take tumbles too, bust open a toe, and get back up again.

Because sometimes it’s better for your kids to SEE you fail (and try again), than to hear you preaching about it.

Just as it is more poignant for them to see you perform an act of kindness, than it is to just hear you talk about it.

These experiences with him have taught me that I want to do the exact same thing with my daughter Avery.

I really hope she wants to surf too, but if she doesn’t… I know there is something she is passionate about that I would love to be a part of…

This girl LOVES to dance.

and… when she is old enough to graduate into a dance class that we can experience together… I plan to get crazy, make mistakes, mess up my steps, and fall on my butt trying a new move with her…

… I will also get back up with confidence and a splash of goofiness to boot…

… because I’m not always as cool as I look in my photos.

(But I’ll keep these around so I can prove it to them some day.)

Thank you Zeke Ruelas for asking to tag along with us on one of our beach days. We will absolutely cherish these pics forever!