Its summer once again. Its cold, its rainy, its dark. But, according to the calendar, it IS summer.
Sitting here on the couch, a dog on each side, I am remembering beach days from the past. I gaze out the window at the soggy, drooping trees, and remember summers gone by, summers of heat and sun and sand between little toes.
In those days, it wasn’t so easy to have a day at the beach. I remember checking the weather report and seeing a good hot day predicted ahead, and starting my planning! It actually took two days, at least, to pull off a successful beach day with three little kids plus friends.
Here is how it would go:
1. Throw in a load of laundry, making sure to have four or five clean, dry beach towels, clean bathing suits, clean T shirts and shorts and a sheet to sit on.
2. Go to the grocery store to stock up on beach essentials (sun chips, juice boxes, grapes, melons, string cheese).
3. Freeze the juice!
4. Go into the garage and search for beach chairs, pails and shovels, masks, snorkels, noodles, swimmies, boogie boards, a kite and a ball and bat. Fail to find any of them. Go to the shed for the same, but first move the snowtires, wheelbarrow, tomato cages, snow shovels and buckets of sand out of the way. Find half of what you need, covered in spider webs and bird droppings.
5. Search the trailer and attic and find the remaining beach necessities.
6. Clean, bleach and disinfect the whole pile of stuff. Yuck!!
7. The night before the hot day: make sandwiches (remember who likes mustard and cheese, who wants extra cheese and no mustard, and who will have a total conniption of you put lettuce on the sandwich). Pack the chips, cups, napkins, popup wipes, cookies, cheese and fruit.
8. Stuff everything in the car, remembering to leave room for the kids.
9. On the morning of the hot day, get everyone up and fed by 7. Get them into bathing suits and sandals. Slather them from head to toe with sunscreen.
10. Line them up and make sure that they pee!!
11. Load them into the car, along with the lunch cooler. Don’t forget the frozen juice boxes!
12. Run back into the house to grab your camera.
13. Hand everyone a toy or book, double check seat belts. Start the engine.
14. Run back inside for baseball caps to cover up those summer buzz cuts. While you are in there, grab the first aide kit and the asthma inhalers.
15. Drive 2 hours and get to the beach by 10:30.
Those beach days were one of my favorite parts of summer. I loved the sound of the gulls and the squeal of the kids. I loved the hard bright sky and the soothing pressure of the sun on my skin. I would stand at the water’s edge, watching the kids jump and roll in the surf. I loved the drippy sand castles, the footprints, the wisps of seaweed around my ankles. I loved the little red noses and the sand packed diapers. I can picture it all right now.
And I loved the ride home, in a car filled with sleeping, sweaty, sandy children. With salt crusted on my skin, I would look in the rearview mirror and see them with heads back and mouths open, relaxed, exhausted, soaked in sunshine.
If I could go back, for just one more beach day with my babies, I wouldn’t even mind the spider webs and bird droppings! I really wouldn’t……