Beach baby, beach baby, there on the sand

I’m back from vacation, having done the down-the-shore thing.

I’d never had this kind of holiday before with the Little Girl – a rented condo with a pool, the ocean a block away, hundreds of kids and kids’ activities.

When I was a callow New York City youth playing in rock bands, we’d hit the shore bars and play for low pay for the opportunity to meet women. During the days, I’d notice the families with kids and scoff at the cliché of a shore family getaway. Now, I’m singing a different tune, reveling in the normalcy and the sweetness of this kind of vacation. It stopped being about me a long time ago. It’s the kid’s turn.

This is not to say that my girlfriend and I didn’t have a blast watching the Little Girl have a blast in Sea Isle City. We did.

And we admired the intelligence that city fathers and mothers exhibited in arranging the fun – a clean ocean-front promenade, movies and dancing for kids in a seaside park, and a show called, “Sea Isle’s Got Talent.” (Well, a little talent, anyway.)

My daughter declared two of the seven days “the best day ever,” which is high praise from a 7-year-old. I’d like this to be a tradition for the three of us, the start of something lovely and permanent.

Not being from around here, I never before understood the loyalty Philadelphians had for particular Jersey beach towns. Now I do.

They go to them as children, and keep arriving every summer till they’re parents themselves. I’d like to do that for the Little Girl: let her feel that there’s a place for her that’s steady and diverting that she can lay claim to – a place that stockpiles the best days ever.