Sandy kids pile into the outdoor shower. This is the life.

This past week, my extended family and I rented a beach house to celebrate my mom’s 60th birthday. I love my family dearly. Being able to hang out, all of us happy and healthy and (for the most part) harmonious, is a treasure.

Our tribe includes four kids under the age of five, and six adults, and we are all some brand of crazy. We like to eat, drink, play lawn games, and be merry. The kids get along, and appreciate any activity that involves water and/or juice boxes.

I’ve learned a lot about us and myself during the past week. Here, a few thoughts:

  1. Our kids have THE LIFE. Fireworks, ice cream cones, hammocks, Legos, catching fireflies, dancing to live music, bike rides, swings, food trucks, ferry rides, sand pies, backyard baseball, MagnaTiles, movies, see-saws….this is the stuff childhoods are made of.
  2. I don’t care for the beach. I’m fair-skinned and freckle-faced, and my kids are too. We burn to a crisp no problem. Half the time is spent re-applying sunscreen. They are so young, and though learning to swim, there’s no way I can sit back and relax while they frolic near the water. I don’t like the crumbs of the Earth, aka sand, that pour into every crack, crevice, and piece of fabric we set down. I can say with certainty I’m not a beach person. (But I love the people-watching!)
  3. Seriously, it’s 2016 and sunscreen is as far as we’ve gotten? Can’t we invent a pill that we all pop each morning and boom – skin is protected for the day? I fucking loathe putting sunscreen on my kids, who step away and squiggle, insisting I ‘blow on it’ so it’s less slimy, at which point I get it on their hair, teeth, and eyelashes, and we all end up miserable. Oh, and we must re-do this every 120 minutes?? Chemists, let’s invent a better solution!
  4. Riding a bike is really fun. I should ride a bike more. We should ride bikes more with our kids.
  5. I’d be a horrible stay-at-home mom. The company, activities, food, and wine have been amazing. I’ve recharged my battery. But I look forward to sitting at my desk, drinking my coffee, and taking pleasure in my routines. If I were a stay-at-home mom, we’d go home and find ways to fill the day while trying to avoid blowing money. I don’t have the temperament for the constant child-minding. I love the different vibes that weekdays, weekends, and vacations bring. No doubt I’m a better mom and wife as a working person.
  6. The ten of us have taken vacations together, but have we ever spent a solid week under one roof? Even with enough bedrooms and great weather for ample outdoor time, I could use a *little* more solitude. I write this from a den with a closed door. I had to bat my children away for some “me” time, and we’ve been going strong for six days now.
  7. Golfing is a great activity, but not conducive to having young kids. When I’m older, I plan to join a ladies’ golf league. I would also like to be a reader. My mom read four books this week. I read one issue of People, Instagram, and about four pages of a book. Ahh, reading, I miss you!
  8. Outdoor showers and slamming screen doors are summer embodied.
  9. Sleeping in is my jam. I woke up at 9am twice this week, and took a nap. A nap! Having lots of adults means someone is always on duty, not necessarily me. The extra ZZZs alone made this feel restorative. My mom is an early morning warrior, springing to action at the first toddler peep. I owe you one, mom. (Actually, I owe you more than one).
  10. I can’t wait to do this again next year.