I baked some oatmeal cookies, packed a cooler and a bag full of necessary beach items and loaded the skimboard into Jett. Jmoney and I started on our way to Clearwater Beach for Xtina’s birthday bash. Dark clouds like a blanket.

An hour later, squinting as I scanned the beach (shout out to you, God!) for the bash-ers, I saw Xtina’s high kicks before I saw her bikini. Crazy woman. Always on stage, that one. She and my closest friend, Jer (like “bear”), were waiting with Gabs and Mike and bodacious Blane to accost us for being late. Nearly 24 hours late. The party actually started the day before, but I wouldn’t loosen my knuckles on the “me day” I was having.

After being tackled by Uncle Jer, J took off to ride the waves. The water was surprisingly warm and, yes, oil-free.

Gabs and Xtina decided it was time to dance, so they did some choreography on the sand stage our group had created. Not architecturally; and not intentionally. OK, you know you can’t take performers anywhere and not expect a show.

Then we all headed to the beckoning saltwater that would replace the beach as a stage. Jer and Xtina were competing with the waves to do lifts. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. Xtina was spread eagle in a bikini over Jer’s head. And that’s for free, people.

Leave it to my lil’ man to steal the spotlight. There he was, riding his skimboard like a champ. He’s so fine. Not to be outdone, Xtina went to him and asked him to teach her how.

After some time, everyone returned to our sand stage, where Xtina gave a report of her lesson.

“Melissa, he asked me if I was a mental learner or a physical learner. I didn’t even know how to respond because I was not expecting that.”

Apparently he’d fallen on his first demonstration and said, “Well, that’s embarrassing.”

The cool person Xtina is, she said: “No, I need to learn how to fall. That’s what I’m most scared of. You taught me how to fall.”

And the cool person my prince is, he said: “Oh. Well, do you need me to fall again for you?”

And that, friends, is how you treat people you love. You encourage them when they fall, and you fall for them when they need it.

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