I took the kids to the beach for the day. It was a circus. It was my circus, complete with my very-own monkeys. I had hyped this beach day to the kids. Big time. They love some good hype and anticipation. We practiced putting up the sun tent, we packed our bags the night before, we even made a trip to the dollar store AFTER DINNER (unheard of) to get beach toys. We were, how do the kids say it? “Big pimping, spending G’s.” The kids were pumped.
So, the next morning, we did breakfast and got ready to go. We bike to the beach. It is actually easier. It wouldn’t make sense to load everyone and everything up into the van to drive a few blocks, unload everything and lug everyone out of the van and into the stroller for another block or two to the stroller entrance. Instead, we load up our (awesome) bike trailer, and Lila rides her bike behind me. I use giant clips to hang a beach chair, puddle jumpers, and the baby floaty on the back and fill the trunk of it with the sun tent, cooler, and laundry bag of beach toys.
I stopped at the entrance to show them my passes and let them search my cooler, then I went down to where I was planning on setting up camp and threw everything over the fence. We brought our bikes back to the beach entrance, unloaded the boys and locked up. Finally we were able to actually set up camp and begin Beach Day.
I say all this to show that getting there is a whole thing. There is so much to remember, there is so much sand, so many boxes to check before we can even get there. Oh yeah, and there is a 10 month old baby as a wild card.
The weather was perfect; sunny and warm with a light breeze. Our friend Bethany and her son Zion came for the morning and Heika and Margaux came for the day. Three moms and five kids. We actually fared pretty well!
Joey was getting tired (apparently eating sand is exhausting). He would fall asleep on me, but wake up the second I put him down. Ugh. He was being SUCH a BABY! Around 2 it was looking like it would be a good time to go and just let joey take a little nap in the bike trailer. So I began cleaning up camp.
I never really know where to start. There is just so much stuff and so much sand. Joey was crying now and I just had to let him. The only way we could leave was if I packed all of our stuff. I was stuck and starting to get stressed out. There was a woman and her grown daughter sunbathing and reading near by. I felt annoying because my kids were probably cramping their style.
Then I heard the woman speak to me, “Excuse me, can I hold your baby for you?” I spent one second deciding. It’s natural for me to reject help. Don’t ask me why. My first response felt like, “No. It’s okay. I’m almost done.” But, I just listened to a podcast where a woman recalled how she rejected help in a similar situation and regretted it. I knew Joey was exhausted and would probably fall asleep. So I said, “Yes. Please.” she came over to me and I handed her my fussy baby. He fought her for a few minutes as I tore down the tent and rolled it back up into the bag it came in (miracle), and when I looked over again she was standing at the shore, holding him to her chest with her towel over his back and he was asleep. I finished packing all of our stuff up and throwing it over the fence, Heika was ready with Margaux and the big kids were waiting patiently to go. I went to the woman and thanked her for her willingness to help me and took Joey back into my arms. I was so blessed by this woman! She saved the day and let it end on a good note for us and made me believe I can do it again, instead of me swearing off the beach forever.
Last night, when I put joey in the bath, he smelled like her perfume and I smiled to myself at how God can love us through other people.