There are many blog posts on what to bring on a family beach trip.
Posts like “How to Pack the Perfect Beach Bag in under 30 minutes” and “The Ultimate 10-Item Beach Packing List” and “7 Essentials for A Family Day at the Beach.”
We took our son to the beach the week after Christmas (because it’s 90 degrees in the dead of winter) and I can tell you, all of these articles are…ahem…crap.
If you are over the age of 18 and/or married with children, then the truth is, you’ll take 27 tote bags of sh&t with you on your next beach trip.
It will not take you 30 minutes to pack.
It will take you 7 hours, and you will still forget something.
You will venture to the shore with saddle bags of:
bathing suits, sandals, hats, protective eyewear, diapers, underwear, change of clothes (or two, or three, or ten) snacks, water, sippy cups, pacifiers, shade screen, stuffed-animal lovey, baby blanket, umbrella, sunscreen, face-sunscreen, snorkel, flippers, surf board, volleyball net, frisbee, asthma puffer and medication refills, baby-sensitive-skin sunscreen, sand toys, seashell-collection-bag, kite, 57 beach towels, sheet, hair tie, baby powder, bug spray, bandaids, tampons, change for the parking meter, cash for the snack bar, lawn chairs, cooler, fishing pole, your phone with the fancy new all-weather case, the Nikon…
My husband parks the car, and leads the way to the perfect spot.
He scouts out this spot like a hound dog on a crime scene.
No, no… not here.
Yes, that’s it… 15 more miles in that direction.
He is a sleuth, and I am his bag lady.
I am out of breath from carrying so much sh&t across the Sahara desert, and also from being a little fat (it’s the week after Christmas, remember.)
However, I am wearing a Spanx bathing suit, which is very flattering, thank you very much.
I am also wearing a tunic, sandals and large sun hat.
Suddenly, like a flock of seagulls, a dozen barefoot teenage girls flutter past me.
I am blinded by their glistening tan skin.
Do you know what they are carrying?
They are prancing about without so much as a cover up.
I take that back, one of them was carrying a radio.
Because the only thing one really needs at the beach is Nick Jonas.
(Incidentally, I forgot “music” in my above-mentioned packing list.)
Why do I have 1,000 things, and they are drip drying half-naked in the warm winter sun?
Because they aren’t afraid of anything, and I am afraid of everything.
I am afraid that someone will get hungry, or tired, or melanoma (or bored God forbid) during the 2-4 hours we will actually be at the beach.
I get so caught up in preparation, I sometimes forget the entire point of going to the beach is to HAVE FUN.
Oops, mommy forgot to pack a positive attitude!
When I finally settled into my lawn chair (so comfy, with the cup holder!) and caught my breath, I watched my son fly a kite for the first time.
I realized, I love my life as a
pack mule mom.
There is nothing like building sandcastles and digging tunnels to China.
Or collecting sea shells.
Or eating too much ice cream at the Twistee Treat.
Which brings me back to that Spanx bathing suit, and the cover up, and that bucket for the shells, and some extra cash….and…
Ugh, we forgot the shovel!!!!!!!!!!!