My college roommate and I are planning a trip to the beach. We’re bringing kids, leaving husbands, and recently had the logistics talk. It started with babysitters and ended with wine. In our excitement to plan the trip several months ago, neither of us paused to consider our collective platoon. And why would we? I mean, how many beach trips have I taken with this woman over the course of nearly 20 years? We know how to roll. Except now we have five kids between us, ages 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6. Right. So the conversation went from hells yeah to hot damn in about three seconds. Here’s why:
In college, naps on the beach were caused by one of two reasons: the lack of sleep the night before or the amount of alcohol consumed in the previous two hours. In parenthood, naps don’t apply to you at all. They are the gold doubloons of daily life with toddlers, and they are neither peacefully wrought nor ever long enough. Most of the time you just want to sit still and in total silence, but if we do make hay while the sun shines and rip through a pitcher of margaritas, we’ve still got from 3 to 8 p.m. to work out, responsibly. So our nap conversation turned into an agreement that our babysitter should arrive at 3.
© Courtesy Shelley Massey
Every beach trip I remember in college started with a trip to Publix, where we’d load up on the necessities: beer, bottled water, bread, peanut butter, pretzels and frozen drink mixes. For my upcoming trip, I will likely be spending $400 at Costco on individually packaged goldfish, veggie straws, ZBARs and Capri Suns. Those snacks will last about 2 minutes.
From ages 19 to 22, entertainment included anything “live.” Live music, live bait, live TV being shot on location. We’d get up, debrief from the night before, then head to the beach. We’d pass the Coppertone (oil), the peanut butter and pretzels, and repeat. With kids, our entertainment will include a DVD case full of cartoons, bubbles, possibly a kite, a suitcase of chalk, 30 Elsa dresses, a lasso and a karaoke machine. We will turn applying sunblock into an Olympic sport. We fully expect spectators.
In college, we drank a lot of beer. We took our share of shots. And when we were feeling particularly mature, we’d pour some vodka in a V8 and call it a Bloody Mary. Now, we drink much better wine (helps with the recovery, as does starting and finishing early), in much smaller quantities. We will probably have a mimosa. And we will still feel hungover.
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