Parenting is no day at the beach… unless you’re at the beach

In the grand scheme of things, seven hours is not a long time. It’s about the length of a school day, the number of hours of sleep some require. A plane trip over the big pond.

Things like that.

But for me, a recent seven hour stint at the beach with my kids was, in a word, blissful. Seven carefree hours without a single argument to break up. Seven hours free of children bickering back and forth. Seven hours without a child whining those three little words “I. Am. Bored!” Seven hours watching my kids play together without trying to kill each other.

Blissful.

I realize that it could have been a recipe for disaster. Just me, and my two kids, together at the beach for a ridiculously long time.

But we had the sandbar, the warmish water of the Long Island Sound, one shovel, one pail, one beach umbrella and some sun screen. One beach chair. For me of course.

Sure the salt water and sea air contributed to the beauty of the day. And the fact that I didn’t have to play Julie the Cruise Director or referee, two hats that I have worn almost a part of every day this summer.

They did this:

And this:

We saw this:

And they gathered these:

And I sat in my beach chair and reveled in one wonderful, albeit long, day at the beach.

I was the one who had to come find them and tell them it was time for ice cream. I was the one who had to move our stuff up from the sandbar when the tide came in. I was the one who chased down the beach umbrella when a gusty beach breeze unearthed it from the poorly dug hole that didn’t secure it.  They didn’t notice anything that didn’t have to do with a hermit crab pool or seagulls flying in. Except my daughter did inform my husband that “Mommy sat all day.”

Yes. I. Did.

And it was a perfect day. Not because of sitting part. I was a little sore. And I did walk around the sand. A little.

But I got to see first hand that my kids really do like each other. It just takes some new scenery sometimes to reinforce that.

It was an “aha” moment for sure.

Summer can be a little boring sometimes. I remember feeling that way by August too when I was a kid. Lazy days with not much to do.  A little camp here. Some time at the lake or the beach there.

Not much has changed I guess.

I remember one excellent day of my childhood.

My dad took me and my brother to the beach. It was unusual because he worked and rarely, if ever, was able to beach it with us kids. But that day, it was me, my dad and my brother, without our older sisters, and we had a perfect day.

I am pretty sure my dad was sitting, or lying down, on a blanket. It wasn’t seven hours for sure, but it was surely a great day at the beach.

I hope my kids remember our day and maybe include it in the “What I did this summer” essay that is inevitable when they return to school in a couple of weeks.

I hope they remember how much they liked each other that day. And we didn’t even get a sunburn.

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