For many of us, the 3-day weekend that coincides with the Memorial Day holiday is also the launching pad for summer fun. And that was the case for my family as we looked to take advantage of the long weekend and what promised to be great weather and decided to head to the beach for the holiday. As all parents know (and soon-to-be parents will soon know), having a 4 year old and an 11 month old doesn’t quite lend itself well to a quick packing of the suitcase an hour before departing time. So because we were eager to get a head start on the weekend and not spend the first part of it packing, I decided to do it little by little in the days before the weekend. Swimsuits? Check. Playard? Check. Sandals? Check. Bottles, snacks and juice boxes? Check. Stroller? Check.
As I began to pull together what seemed to be half of our possessions for our quick trip to the beach, Punkin’ Bear came scurrying upstairs with a pad and pencil in her hand excitedly. “Mommy! We don’t have everything we need! We need to write a list.” Hmmm… and here I thought I was doing pretty well with pulling it all together. But, okay let’s take a look at what we’re missing. And so I asked “Well, Bear- what am I missing? I have your hair brush, your beach towel, your shampoo and your pajamas- what else do we need?” Without hesitation, Bear pushed the pencil into my hand and said “Here, take this and write it down”. Part stunned and overwhelmingly amused, I nodded and said “Okay, go for it.”
“OKAY” she said enthusiastically. “We will need…” she started and then she began rattling off the following (oh, if you could only see her emphatic little hands swinging around the air to place emphasis on all the important words!):
• Bubbles – maybe even 2 jars. 1 for me and 1 for LadyBug (so sweet of her to remember her little sister, who not to burst her bubble –pun intended—is not quite old enough to blow bubbles yet. But a sweet thought nonetheless).
• A Kite. You HAVE to have a kite on the beach
• A watering can and gardening tools to help Nana plant flowers for summer. Of course.
• My bike (and of course I added helmet right behind this one)
• A bucket, a shovel, and that thing shaped like a crab (this would be for making fake crabs all over the beach)
• My sail boat (okay, this is actually a bath toy she loves, but hey, I see that she’s going for a theme here so I add it to the list)
• A bottle of some-scream (aka Sunscreen)
A few more requests were in there but one of us had to keep in perspective that we would be traveling in an SUV, not an 18 wheeler, and thus we couldn’t accommodate all of her beach “necessities”. So we put aside her list that night as it was getting late and time for bed. But wouldn’t you know it resurfaced the next night when Punkin’ came to check on my progress with packing the items on her list. Fortunately, I know that my little girl literally never forgets a thing and therefore had started packing her items in preparation of her questioning. As we started checking off the list, I actually started feeling like a kid myself; looking forward to our trip to the beach. Focusing on blowing bubbles, riding bikes and playing in the sand instead of all the practical things I tend to focus on when preparing for a family trip –laundry, packing, etc– really brought out the child within. In fact, I think I was more excited about getting ice cream at the beach than she was.
And the best part is that our trip to the beach was just the beginning of the summer fun. Since then, we’ve already taken a dip in the kiddie pool, had a picnic and gone to a town fair. It sure does feel good to
be a feel like a kid again!