I took my kids to the beach for the first time the other day (yes, I know, it's the next to the last week in August) in a last ditch effort to have them be able to write something other than, "We hung out in our backyard," on their summer reports and I couldn't help but feel a little like a tourist (in my own backyard) saying stuff like:
- Ouch, that sand is HOT!
- How far is it to the water, anyways?
- Oh, damn, we didn't bring an umbrella.
- Is it low tide or high tide?
- Damn, that sun is HOT!
- What's up with all the red flags and why isn't anyone in the water?
- Oh, look at ALL the pretty seagulls.
"Nooooooooooooooo, don't feed them!"
I did, however, remember NOT to feed the seagulls -- a cardinal rule, which once broken may or may not cause one to be severely beaten with a beach umbrella, here in Jersey anyways.
On the one hand, it's SO MUCH easier taking older kids to the beach -- grab a few towels, beach chairs, a couple of water bottles, a little spending money for french fries, maybe even a corn dog (or twenty) then sit back and remind them NOT to feed the seagulls.
On the other hand, I pine for the days when my kids were easily entertained with a shovel, a bucket or watching tourists get beat with beach umbrellas.
Then again, I have been their main source of entertainment (especially, during the summertime) for the last 18 years and, well, I'm perfectly fine with just hanging out and NOT feel the need to actually have to do anything -- other than remind them to, you know, turn over and go get mom a corn dog.
Now that my oldest has graduated high school, is working and pretty much learning to support herself by contributing to the household for stuff like groceries and car insurance (reminder: we live in Jersey, the land of HOLY HELL, HOW MUCH?!?) not to mention, with my middle girl entering her junior year and having to start the college search all over again (see also: HHHM?!?) I realize that our days of spending quiet afternoons at the beach...together...are numbered.
"The waves look AWESOME mom, c'mon!!!"
Not to mention, my being able to jump, up and down, and expecting to successfully land, on the ground, on both feet, on purpose.
"Mom, behind you, LOOKOUT!!!"
I totally forgot about the OTHER cardinal rule: Never, EVER, turn your back on the ocean, which once broken may or may not cause one to be bitch-slapped into next week by an incoming wave, here in Jersey anyways.
SLAP!!!! Aaaaaaand, I could NOT for the life of me get up AND not because of the wicked undertow or anything, either.
SLAP!!!! I would reach up and grab onto my son's swim trunks.
SLAP!!! Aaaaaaand, he would slap my hand away (each and EVERY time) so I would, you know, fall back into the water.
SLAP!!! Then reach up again, grab onto my son's swim trunks, not thinking that the poor guy was trying to keep me from pulling his swim trunks off. So he claims.
"OMG, that was the FUNNIEST thing we have EVER seen!"
Note to self: next time, try to stand [up] further away from the lifeguard stand.
Moral of the Story: As I strive for continued excellence in being a source of entertainment for my teens and tween, as well as the entire Jersey coastline, dammit.
Stupid undertow. Dumbass corn dogs.
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