Having just successfully made it home from the beach, exhausted, sleeping two and a half year old in tow, I came to a realization. That was just the easiest trip with child that I have taken in a very long time. When did my baby get so big and when did I start getting the hang of things!?
Trips to the beach are a very popular event in my household. Hence beach season starting on a sunny 65-degree, April day in New England. This tradition only makes sense considering it was a way of life growing up in my family. My parents had four kids and and we alternated between two activities all summer long. Our summers were spent either going to the beach, which was a hop, skip and a jump away or heading out on the boat. What else would a crew of six do together every weekend in the summer? Genius way of keeping everyone together and happy.
My mom used to pack the best beach lunches. A million foot long Italian sub cut up into individual sandwiches. She got the freshest Italian bread made right in our hometown… crispy on the outside, soft on the inside… my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Days out on the boat we would pull up to a beach, anchor and my dad would grill hot dogs and hamburgers and we would devour them between diving and in my brothers case, belly flopping… haha just kidding Bobby, off the back of the boat. Blazing sun, the ocean, swimming, our dog in a life jacket, food and a crew of fun people… it truly doesn’t get better than that.
So the tradition carried on with our little fam of three. Sans the boat… We will tuck that away on our bucket list. Annnd send my husband to get a boating license in the interim. I am not going to lie, he’s not who you want as your “Captain At Sea.” Now, navigator of a sushi menu, I have the man for you. We all have our talents.
Last summer our baby, whom apparently is no longer a baby [tear] was just about a year old. Every weekend we would wake up early, make and pack lunches and pretty much any and all existing items in our house, stuff it all in our Pilot and head to the beach. Fingers crossed we didn’t forget anything. It looked like this…
Just kidding, it wasn’t that bad. That is actually a picture of my husband and I packing for a week long summer vacation in Maine, before kids. Apparently, if we rented a house in Maine now we would need a U-Haul. Not worried, totally worth it. Moving on.
So anyways, our trips to the beach last summer looked more like this…
Blast right? Lots of stuff to keep baby alive and busy… we used it all. That’s a lie. The tent was a stretch. We didn’t want to give up hope that Presley just might fall asleep for a couple of hours. The plan held true that when she did my husband and I would sneak in some real relaxation time. Sitting and doing nothing, or even do the unrealistic activity, read [crazy, shocked face], like the old days. Truth be told, that never happened though, but as Journey would say, “Don’t Stop Believin.” So, the tent stayed.
Each weekend trip was a lot of work, many learning curves and many failures but always a lot of fun in return. As my husband always says, “Work hard and play hard.” We had all hands on deck and we failed and succeeded with both.
Well, today, after what I like to call a horrendous, ridiculously awful, long winter of snow and freezing short days, the sun shined bright. No clouds, only light winds. And the beach called our names.
We packed, get this, a stroller with a canvas bag that consisted of water for both Presley and I, a snack (Yessss, for both of us. No I wouldn’t dare miss snack time.), a book, a shovel, a towel and a chair. That was it. No car necessary.
We strolled to the beach and Presley had a blast for a few hours while we both absorbed some necessary vitamin D and took it easy. Having successfully arrived home, un-annoyed or exhausted, I realized that she is no longer a baby [sad face] and that I succeeded at something that had to do with moving from one place to another with a toddler.
As I secretly celebrated, I realized just as I perfected the beach trip, I am going to have to start the learning curve all over again in just a couple of months. And it wont just be how to get to and from a day out at the beach with a single kid, but, everything baby, times two. [Oh my.] The day I haul three babies to the beach in a stroller, successfully, you all can come over for a champagne toast, on me. I’m thinking Dom. Many bottles of it.
So I push worry aside and celebrate. I celebrate today’s trivial accomplishment and all the previous days and years trivial accomplishments. You know what? I even celebrate the failures. Because having kids is hard and if you have a healthy and happy, growing kid and a chaotic life to accompany it, than you should give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve succeeded. They wouldn’t be where they are without all of your mini failures and trivial successes. So cheers to you, you rock.
Essentially, we are celebrating life and the trials and tribulations that inevitably come with it. You’re celebrating successful growth. Growth in your child, in yourself and your family.
Hey, if we are aren’t growing then we are staying the same. How boring is that? I welcome the upcoming litter, constant failures, trivial achievements, old and new traditions and continuous family beach memories with arms wide open. Isn’t this what life is all about?