The sea is a new animal to us. We have been river people and bush people but putting down roots in Cape Town, the land of sea and mountain, we have had to change our stripes. Or at least, broaden them. We have had to adapt, grow, step outside comfort zones and explore. All three of us.
We called on friends and family living in the Cape to play guide and from there we’ve gone out on our own. I can see it: we’ve started to mould into the city and to understand its ways, even think like it.
It started with hiking and has recently shifted to surfing. My boys have always felt the pull of the sea, on holidays on the coast. They’ve spent days here and there rushing about over shells and sand and shallow waters with their heads down, looking up only to show Mum new findings. They’ve spent time in the Indian, learning to snorkel in Madagascar, and on the Atlantic, watching the sun set over Table Mountain. I’ve watched them grow mumbly and fumbly with frenzy over whale sightings. But this is the first time we’ve dedicated ourselves to the sea, visiting it day in and out to learn just how people do this thing called surfing.
Muizenberg is the best beach for this, for our little family. The Surfshack Surfschool has become another home these holidays. Whatever chance we’ve had, we’ve headed out, wetsuit-clad and with a teacher, into the cold waters to practice, and to attempt, over and over, getting up off our chests.
And it happened! This school holiday! The boys stood up on their boards, on two little feet, and rode a wave as though it were as second nature to them as swinging on vines is to Tarzan. It was one of those moments, those Mum moments, or Dad moments, when your heart swells with pride. When anything seems possible. When you curl up in bed for the night feeling like the best parent in the world. Because to have created this kid, these kids, you must have done and be doing something right.
Parenting is a bit like surfing, I guess. Sometimes it all feels a little shaky, the waters out there and your ability to wade them. It can feel as though you have no idea what you’re doing, like you might just not be cut out for this, for standing on your own two feet let alone raising others to stand on theirs. And then, the next minute, out in the same water, you find yourself… upright, tall, solid, riding a wave with your whole tribe beside you, with you, beaming that beam of achievement.
With each new mountain peak we reach, each wave we ride, we feel more and more at home here in Cape Town. In this city with all its newness and all its differences.
Perhaps the next safari will be a surfari…