What I Learned About Childhood From Sandcastles


Every year my family takes a trip to Galveston, our closest beach here in Texas. This is our 4th annual trip and it is just exactly what is needed. The nanas and aunties and cousins and great grandmas all meet up here and we drink coffee and splash in the ocean and laugh. A lot. It is magic.

One thing my twin girls and I love to do is make sandcastles. My personal favorite kind of castles. I have a knack for what we call "drip castles" which are the kind of structure you make from simply dripping wet sand slowly in a pile until it starts to resemble the towering Sagrada Familia in Spain.

We dig motes, use buckets and tamp down fortress walls. We decorate with shells and seaweed, we have long discussions about rooms and architecture and what crabs live where. It is pure and unadulterated creativity.

Our structures are sometimes massive, sometimes intricate. And always created with love.

And then they are gone. The tide rolls in and washes our castles away back into the ocean, gloriously appointed crab rooms and all.

We go home to shower and eat pimento cheese sandwiches and crawl into our sheets that are extra soft when your skin is kissed by the sun.

But the girls don't care that our hard work is gone. Because it gives us a clean slate to build again tomorrow. And to build without much anxiety of it being good enough. Because we know it will all wash away at the end of the day anyway.

Sandcastle art reminds me of the fleeting beauty of my twin's childhood. They are seven years old now and each day is built on laughter. But each day of childhood is also washed away at midnight, never to be lived again.

I decided a while ago that I wasn't going to mourn the loss of the sandcastles or the days of childhood, but instead, see the beauty in the temporary. Because that is part of the appeal of sandcastles and childhood.

They are both lovely because they are fleeting.

So today, what is your sandcastle art?


Celeste Holbrook