Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Let It Go

I don't like the beach. Let me rephrase that, I don't like sand, seaweed, being in a bathing suit, burning skin, applying sunscreen repeatedly, accidentally ingesting sand, seagulls and lugging large amounts of crap with me when I'm supposed to be relaxing.  See what I mean?  I'm not a beach person.  Beach people are chill.  They tan.  They wear sarongs perfectly and have wind swept hair and stylish aviator sunglasses.  I am pasty.  I burn instantly and my sarongs get quickly tangled and end up with food, poop or vomit on them.  And my hair, well, let's just say that I look more like I was riding around in a convertible with the top down and then sprayed head to toe with Aqua Net.

As I was saying, I don't like the beach.  That being said, I appreciate any activity that has the potential to tire my kids out.  Also, I have fond memories of enjoying the beach as a child and now that I have offspring to entertain and I feel morally obligated to replicate the best parts of my own childhood, then it seems, that it is time for me to embrace the beach.

Being new to Jersey, my preference is to drive over two bridges than to navigate the Jersey Shore.  I know, that sounds crazy, but I know where to go on Long Island.  The Jersey Shore to me is a big mystery populated entirely by Snookies and JWows.  While we drive to Long Beach, we hit traffic at the GWB, followed again at the Throgs Neck Bridge.  Normally, I'd grit my teeth, listen to the traffic on 1010 WINS, and snap at my kids.  Instead, I just

Let it go.

When we are five minutes away from my friend's house, Bean falls asleep.  Five minutes away!  We've been in the car for an hour and half, but she falls asleep when I can smell the ocean, guaranteeing a cranky preschooler when we arrive.

Let it go.

We get to my friend's house and she loads up her beach cart, which is clearly the best invention of modern times and must have been invented by a harried mom who was tired of looking like a pack mule when she went to beach.  Now, moms everywhere just look like slightly homeless hoarders.  That beach cart offers salvation to anyone else that abhors the chaos of getting from the car to the beach.  It makes the transition seamless, easy and restful, especially when it's being pushed by my amazing friend.

We get to the beach and set up camp and my kids are already hungry.  Who am I kidding?  I was starving, but I find it very convenient to blame my kids for necessitating snacks and meals, when in reality it is often just my stomach complaining of hunger.  HT takes her sandwich and immediately drops it in the sand.  The underside is completely covered in sand and SHE EATS IT ANYWAY!

Let it go.

Bean, meanwhile has approximately two bites and tries to run off to the water.

Let it go.

We go down to the water, and my daughter who was previously terrified of the waves, won't stop going in.  She loves it.  The water is cool.  The waves are low and fast.  Bean holds my hand and jumps over and over again as the waves crash against her small body.  I hold her tightly, quietly terrified of the power of each wave, but also remembering this feeling of being in the water as a child and loving each thrust of the wave, but being a little bit scared too.  Looking down, I see that my bathing suit is pulled so low that to the quick observer, they might think that I have a small set of stretched out butt cheeks sitting right on my chest.

Let it go.

After numerous trips with my friends to the water (Thank God for Friends), the inevitable happened.  Bean said she had to pee.  We explain that she can just go in the water and we diligently try getting her deep enough so that she might modestly relieve herself.  The waves are too much for her and keep dislodging her from her position.  Next, we move on to get her sitting close enough to the water so that the water gently laps at her lady parts thus providing some coverage.  Still, no luck.  Finally, with her close to tears, we trot off to the portable bathrooms at the beach.  The sand is so hot.  My feet are burning.  Bean is close to tears, until she stops, starts crying, squats and carefully pulls the crotch of bathing suit aside and pees right into the Sahara-like sand.  She laughs/cries while she pees.

Let it go.

After her miraculous pee in the desert, Bean loudly proclaims that she feels poop and so I run her up to the bathroom.  We pretend that the beach is Agrabah and she is Jasmine, HT is Abu and I'm Aladdin.  I get her on the potty, and the tiniest trickle of pee comes out and no poop.

Let it go.

We return to blanket.  HT continues to eat her blueberries covered in sand.  She's also found her way into the chips and I don't stop her.

Let it go.

Bean dumps bucket after bucket of sand on her head and proudly proclaims that she looks like Elsa since her hair is now white with sand.

Let it go.

I get it now.  The beach, evan with my laundry list of caveats, is awesome.  Yes, there will be sand in every crevasse of my body and all over the car and bed for days, but it's so worth it.  Bean will get multiple baths and showers, and there will still be sand in her bed for days.  I get it now.  I'm sure that my mom felt the same way as she slathered sunscreen on me and I tried to squirm away.  I'm sure she hated the beach too, until she she saw my smiling face when I ran into the waves.  I'm sure she let it go then too.

That's what moms do.