Summer is that glorious season when childhood magic feels attainable, close at hand. Fun abounds at every corner, right? Swimming pools, ice cream, family vacation, playing outside in the late lasting light.
I can’t believe we’re halfway through summer! In some ways, we’ve lived up to the ideal above. We’ve had picnics and pool days and people we love come visit. We took in fireworks, fired up the grill, stayed up late just because it was still light outside. But let’s be real: when the kiddos are little (maybe when they’re older too, but don’t dash my hopes yet!), it’s not all rosy.
Take the other day at the beach for example.
I had the glorious opportunity to miss an epic SoCal heatwave and skip town for a weekend to attend a friend’s wedding. I had a lovely time, and as expected came home exhausted. So why did I load up all “needed” paraphernalia and trek the hour to the beach the day after I got home? Good question. It was not the day I would have chosen to go to the beach, but alas I had chosen to host a meetup there way back in May. So, off we went.
I have to say, it was perfect beach weather. It was hot enough to feel “beachy”, to make you want to take a dip in the refreshing Pacific. The tide was low, and the sun turned the waves glorious green-blue.
It was a relatively straightforward beginning: lug everything onto the sand, claim a spot, set up umbrella/chair/blanket, sunscreen three people, produce sand toys for the boys. Phew, that’ll work up a sweat!
Soon enough the heat drove us to the water. This turned out to be a delightful insight into my boys’ differing personalities. Eddie, older and more cautious, stuck to the shallows but thoroughly enjoyed racing around splashing and chasing the waves’ comings and goings. Xander was wary of the big waves at first, but soon, as long as he had a hand to hold, would venture deeper, giggling with delight when a wave would knock him off his feet. He was dramatic and yelled, “oh, no, tum!” (translated: oh no, here it comes!) at each wave even as he grinned ear to ear. His enthusiasm even got cautious big brother to venture deeper for a bit.
We ran around in the sand, ate our picnic lunch, built a sandcastle, chased the seagulls, tossed around a beach ball, all the classic beach-day things. Quintessential. I was glad I’d made the effort to come.
Sometimes that magical childhood summer fun takes effort.
Then came the real effort. Packing up and heading for home. The sand was hot through our shoes as we trekked back toward the parking lot. Halfway there, the little one just couldn’t hack it and broke down. I was forced to carry him in one arm while pulling the stroller-load of stuff behind me with the other.
Back at the car was no picnic either. Just as I was beginning the process of baby powdering the sand off my two little beach bums, some car made the poor decision to wait for our parking spot. Little did they know we were only at step one of a 45 minute procedure. Ha! Finally, both boys in fresh clothes and buckled in, I wearily climbed in myself and booted up navigation for the long drive home.
The end could almost make you wonder if the first part was worth it!
But it so is. Never mind that I forgot to sunscreen my arms (I did a few sets of arms, so is it any wonder I left out my own?), or the flat tire once we got home (thankfully not en route!), or the unique beach-induced exhaustion that colored our evening. Think of the memories! Think of how good that shower feels after the salt and sand followed you home! Think of the giggles and smiles that echo long after the sound of the waves has faded. Forget the tears, that’s just par for the course. The magic is worth it!