Friday, July 18, 2014

Challenge #26: Go To The Beach

Here's a summery challenge for you:  find a beach somewhere and go to it!

Maybe this is easy, for you live within walking distance of a lake or an ocean.  Or maybe there is one just a short drive away.

For other people, getting to a beach might be a herculean task.  Maybe you have to plot out an entire day on the calendar to get to a beach and back.

But that is why I decided to make it a challenge; because even though I live in Michigan, the state surrounded on three sides by water, I live in the lower middle, where it's a bit of a drive to get to the shores of the big lakes. And, I confess, most of the small lakes around here with beaches aren't all that interesting, and usually very crowded with what our family (living in the sticks, as it were) refer to as 'city people'.  Not in a derogatory way; just as an identifier:  "all those city people from Lansing (Detroit, Ann Arbor, etc)".  Meaning simply that that particular beach is the only one within an hour or more and will be crowded with every beach seeking member of the metro population.  Not like the more spacious beaches of the big lakes, and definitely not like the beaches of Lake Superior, way up in the top of the Upper Peninsula.

I think that is where DH and I got spoiled on wanting quiet, sparsely populated beaches--those few years we spent living in the U.P.  It was after we moved back downstate that we got so picky about having a beach that wasn't full of 'city people'.

I digress.  Back to the topic at hand!

When my kids were little, and I wasn't working outside the home for hours and hours every weekday (so, like 1998 to 2002), I often took them to a nearby rural state park with a small beach that wasn't full of city people. The beach itself wasn't anything exciting, but it was water, and sand, for a hot day and you weren't cheek to jowl with a bunch of other human beings who were also seeking water and sand.

We would get out one of my big rectangular laundry baskets, load it up with beach towels and not-yet-inflated swim rings, as well as sunblock and snacks.  It made the perfect beach tote for a large family: everyone's necessary gear fit into it, and it could be hauled by two of the kids if my hands were filled carrying smaller siblings.  We also took water or lemonade in our gallon sized thermal jug.  With those things, we were ready to spend a hot afternoon relaxing at the beach.

Then we moved to this little place here.  Neither DH nor I knew of a beach within a half hour drive of our new home.  I also worked until one o'clock every weekday, and part of the afternoon on Sundays.  I stopped taking the kids to the beach for those two reasons.  Unless we were on vacation, my kids didn't go to the beach again until their late high school years, when they would be invited occasionally by friends to drive about forty-five minutes to get to the favorite 'local' one.

Well, when we were in South Carolina earlier this month for Toad's birth, I finally went to the beach again.  I confess, it had been two years, since DH and I's short trip to Myrtle Beach, since I'd been swimming or just sat in the sand and relaxed.  And, when DD2 suggested it--let's take K3 and go to the beach!--I resisted at first.  Unfamiliar area, the ocean and it's currents, so many people, yadda yadda yadda.

But she talked me into it as a way for K3 to run and make noise and have some fun when her life had just changed dramatically with the arrival home of her new baby brother.  Now she had a super tired Mommy and Daddy, and people dropping by all the time, many of whom were telling her to sit still and be quiet around the baby.

So, since grandmas are such suckers for wanting their grandchildren to be happy, I agreed.  I even drove!  A feat in itself since DH usually does the driving/navigating in unfamiliar areas.  But he and DD1 had left the day before because both of them needed to be back to work, while DD2 and I stayed a few extra days to help with the whole 'bringing home a new baby' thing. So if DD2 and I were taking K3 to the beach, I needed to drive us there.

And you know what?  I had fun.  I had so much fun on that beach with K3 and DD2.  It was so enjoyable (and, being a Monday after the holiday weekend, the beach was pretty empty) that it made me wonder why I didn't make an effort at home to get to a beach at least once a summer.

Hence the idea for this week's challenge.

Go to the beach.  Even if you think it's a lot of trouble to get to.  Even if you aren't excited about going.  Just go.  Do it.  Pick one, make time in your schedule, and go.  You can thank me later.

DD2 & K3, heading to the water

shrimp boat, coming in closer as the tide came in, covering up most of the beach 
(same boat that is barely visible in top right corner of the first picture)

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