This Sunday I took my daughter to my parents’ house–a.k.a. Mimi and Happy’s house–and we all headed the beach! As I was getting ready to go to the shore, it struck me how different things are now that I’m responsible for a little person and not just me. In the old days, B.K. (before kid), going to the beach for the day was easy. If I even needed a beach bag back then, the only thing I put in it was a towel, a book and a bottle of water. These days, it’s not that simple.

Before I left, I consulted Sarah’s guide to the beach with kids and Dena’s sunscreen guide. Thanks Ladies! Then, I packed our bag full of 3 different kinds of sunscreen, flip-flops, towels, spare clothes, and snacks.  For both of us! It was a really big bag.  We piled our stuff in the car and drove the hour to my folks’ house.  Once we got there, my girl needed a snack.  And then she needed to hunt for the “surprise” toy (you know, the one that’s always there…) in the toy box from Mimi and Happy.  And then we could put our swim suits on.  As I got my girl lathered up with the 3 different types of sunscreen, my mom noted how long it takes just to get to the beach with all this prep.  Tell me about it!

As we moved the car seat into my parent’s car and then all got in for the 10-minute drive to the sand, I realized I forgot toys!  You can’t take a pre-schooler to the beach without toys!  Yikes!  Looks like we’ll have to make an unexpected stop for pails and shovels.  We finally arrived at the beach and found a good spot.  I think it was because it took us so long to get there, people were already leaving the beach.

I love sand!  Photo: K. Stevenson

Sand is everywhere…yes, even back “there!”
Photo: K. Stevenson

I didn’t think I’d enjoy going to the beach with a sand monster, otherwise known as my daughter. I have always LOVED the beach, but in my mind, the best day at the beach is a day spent relaxing, listening to the waves and reading a cheesy beach novel. I knew all of that would be thrown out the window with a five-year old in tow. Sand in the bathing suit? Check. Swimming in the freezing cold Long Island Sound? Absolutely. Getting splashed? Yup. Building (and knocking over) a million sand castles? Yep.  Sitting and relaxing? Yeah, not gonna happen.

But you know what?  It was so much fun.  I got to see my daughter enjoy a gorgeous day playing and just being a kid.  I got to see her problem solve and be courageous when it came time to building castles and taking a dip in the cold water. I also got to see a couple of “big kids” in action too-my mom and dad.  They were good sports, having been dragged to the beach during a heat wave.  They both got sandy and wet for their grandchild and had fun doing it.  I am grateful for the memories they made that day with my daughter.  I can’t wait to go again.

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