The days of sand castles and water wings are gone. My toddlers have grown up and become teenagers.
Taking them to the beach is nothing like it used to be.
I don’t have to spend 2 hours packing a cooler full of rehydrating beverages, sandwiches and any snack I can think of. I am not worried about dealing with that one whiny toddler that doesn’t feel like that fucking cheese string is good enough for their pallet on that particular day.
Things have changed.
Nowadays, packing for the beach consists of me shouting up the stairs at my fifteen and thirteen-year-old things like:
“We are leaving in ten minutes have you found your bathing suit?”
“NO, I don’t know where your other flip-flop is.”
“Yes, you need to grab a towel.”
Teenagers are a little more self-sufficient than toddlers. I use the words self-sufficient loosely.
Nevertheless packing up teens is a much easier endeavour. At least in my experience. But the entire beach experience with teens is another story.
Inevitably just as we are about to leave, my son saunters his teen angst self down the stairs and asks me if he can bring his laptop with him. To. The. Beach. WTF kid it’s the beach. My answer always the same. NO, you will do beach stuff and have fun dammit!
Then my daughter comes down the stairs in an outfit she deems appropriate, me not so much. She is 13, has a good head on her shoulders and exudes confidence. But her body! Holy shit her body. To be fair, she doesn’t see herself in any way as a sexual being. But I know how the world works, this kid has legs for days and a waist that puts Marilyn Monroe to shame. All I can say is thank-fucking-god this kid takes after her Mom and isn’t sporting a huge rack. Not for her, but for my piece of mind.
I digress, back to this outfit.
As she bounces down the stairs in her what-the-fuck-are-those-even-shorts, shorts, I feel my chest tighten. I get it; we are going to the beach, it’s hot as hell, and it is the beach for God’s sake. But those shorts are not leaving much to the imagination, and we aren’t at the beach, not yet!
We have a quick argument she knows I will win, and she runs back upstairs to change into a long sundress. Phew, easier than I had expected.
Then my son, fifteen and who usually gives zero fucks what he looks like, comes down the stairs with perfectly coiffed hair and a hipster outfit that seems a little over done for the beach. But I get it; there will be girls there. In Bikinis, makes sense to me.
Shit, the kid, is fifteen his hormones are at level I-am-about-to-explode. It’s just, hey kid that tie might be over doing it just a smidge.
My anxiety level is at a zero as we pack up and get in the car, this is way easier than the toddler infused mayhem I once knew.
Arriving at the beach, also much easier with teens than toddlers. I load my teen pack mules with chairs, cooler, umbrella and blankets. We head to the last decent spot near the water because it is still hard to get teenagers out of the house promptly. (Why is it kids can never find their fucking shoes?) As we settle in and get set up, I already see my son scoping the landscape if you know what I’m saying. And my daughter is nonchalantly slipping her sundress off in an innocent OH MY GOD that looks too sexy fashion.
Anxiety, level one.
Within minutes, my kids are off and headed to the water. Me? I am laying back in my beach chair, sipping on an incredibly refreshing iced tea and reading my favourite book. Life is good, I haven’t done a lot to get them here. I haven’t slathered them in sunscreen; they took care of it themselves. I am not strapping them into life jackets and do not have to watch over them near the water.
This shit is easy. I think to myself, apparently with too much confidence.
Not long after hitting the water, my daughter is back and laying beside me on her beach towel. “Mom, do you have any money?”
Lesson number one, teenagers always want money, especially at the beach.
“Yes love, why?” I ask knowing full well the answer will be, I am hungry. “I am hungry,” she says. Nailed it! I am not so new to this parenting gig. “You just ate before we left, can you wait a little?” I am not giving her money; we have been at the beach for ten minutes. Then I hear it, the teen sigh, “Ugh, I guess so.” she replies as she rolls her eyes.
Ten seconds later, the exact words come from my son’s mouth as he stands dripping wet right over top of me. “You are dripping all over my book,” I say. He hears no words come from my mouth and leans in soaking me with more cold ass lake water. “You guys just ate before we left,” I say repeating myself. Another teen sighs and exclaims “But, I am hungry.”
These tactics are a part of their master plan to terrorise me into feeding them greasy-ass-beach-food, I just know it.
I give in, as always, and head to the food stand with two STARVING teens in tow.
Just as I suspected, the line is 50 people deep. The hot sand is searing the bottoms of my feet, and my kids are complaining because I am a terrible Mom and should have known everyone and their fucking dog wanted fries and gravy!
Anxiety, level three.
After waiting 20 minutes in line, which feels more like an eternity. Especially when you can feel the bottoms of your feet melting and sweat is dripping down your ass crack. We finally have two sides of fries topped with a brownish substance that sort of smells like gravy, two large drinks and a bag of gummy bears, and I have spent thirty-eight dollars.
Walking back towards our blanket I am inundated with; Creepy Single Dads staring at me, and young boys checking out my daughter. My son, ten feet back has his swagger on and has somehow handed off his twelve dollar fries, drink and sticky-ass-gummy-bears to me. Apparently holding this much food does not look cool at the beach. But it is totally acceptable for Mom to do it. Ugh.
Quickly looking down at my chest, to make sure the girls are in place, I notice I have a magnitude of gravy sliding down my bathing suit top. Ah, now I get the creepy stares. I guess spending two hundred dollars on a bathing suit can cause over confidence.
Anxiety, level five.
At this point, all I want to do is get into the water wash what now looks like dried-up bird shit off my cream coloured bathing suit top and ease the pain of my sweat filled ass crack. Which at this point may be starting to chafe. Who am I trying to kid, there most certainly is chaffing.
My kids, not giving a rats ass about me and my dilemma, are now plunked comfortably under the shade of our umbrella, Hasselhoff-ing thirty-eight dollar fries!
Did I mention we have only been at the beach for an hour?
The next few hours go without incident. And by without incident I mean.
Having to pump up two air mattresses.
Untangle, my daughters, sand infested hair. Three. Times.
Screaming at my son for kicking sand in my eye as he slides onto the blanket from a full sprint.
Shooing away multiple teen boys milling around my daughter.
Spending over twenty dollars on ice cream, because why wouldn’t my gorgeous kids drop the cones in the sand two seconds after I bought them. I know, ice cream is slippery.
Anxiety Level, We. Are. Leaving!
I am not even going to delve into the fiasco of packing two teenagers up from the beach. Let me just say, each of them believed they had met lifelong friends and maybe they had. I just had nothing left in me to wait one more second. I screamed, embarrassingly “LETS GO!”
The Beach with kids is hard no matter what age. I’d say fuck the beach, but I promised the kids I would take them back tomorrow. Maybe I will bring some Vodka this time.