Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Day At The Beach

There are some verbal expressions that just lose their meaning with the change of life circumstances. Sayings that once rang true suddenly become sadly ironic.

Case in point:

"It was no day at the beach". The common usage: "I had a root canal today, it was no day a the beach." Implying the obvious, that a day at the beach is a lovely, enjoyable relaxing experience, completely the opposite of a dental appointment.

Clearly whom ever penned this phrase was not accustomed to visiting the beach with a 22 month old and a preschooler. I however have, and let me assure you, relaxation does not fit into the equation.

I hate to sound so negative. Admittedly our trips to the ocean qualify as pure-honest-to-God, quality family time. Zachary in particular adores the sand and the waves. He and is daddy spend hours running back and forth filling up buckets of sea water and building sloppy lopsided sand castles. Its sweet. But relaxing? Hardly.

Evan, has a different take on our beach adventures. Apparently my son, who doesn't think twice about walking around with snotty nose and food crusted in his hair does not like the idea of sand sticking to his feet and hands making them "mussy". He spends the entire time demanding to be physically transported from one spot to the next, so his precious feet don't come in contact with the offensive sand.

Then there is the snack-factor. At the beach you must have snacks. However, in most cases the food stuff that I carefully pack is always the wrong stuff. No matter that in all other situations Evan adores raisins and graham crackers, at the beach he will examine each item and decide that he wants something else, something that I did not bring. Zack hungry from all of his running will inevitably drop his soggy string cheese in the sand and hand it to me demanding that I somehow clean the gooey sandy mess.

So I sit there, Evan in my lap, surrounded by discarded snacks, sticky with sun screen trying to convince Zachary that a collapsed sand-castle isn't justifiable cause for a giant melt-down, and I look around. Bikini clad-teenage girls soaking up rays while sipping diet cokes and eating Cheetos. Young couples rubbing tanning oil on each other's backs and flirting. A woman face down, sleeping peacefully. I remember those days at the beach. Lying on a warm towel, listening to the waves crash, the laughter of children a background noise that I could ignore. Now that was relaxing. That was a day at the beach. This, this new experience, is hard work. Often times, it's work that I enjoy, but work none-the-less.

So you see, a day at the beach in reality, it's no picnic.

Oh don't get me started.

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