We’d a playdate planned today, venue TBC, and as soon as it was evident that the sun was shining my friend optimistically suggested that we go to the beach. We extended the invitation to more friends and planned our picnics. I packed the beach bag (OK three bags) including hoodies, suncream and lots and lots of snacks.
We did a supermarket dash on the way, and Miss L complained that I got the wrong yogurts. Loudly.
We drove up our road to pass our estate on the way from the supermarket to the beach and she took to wail, “NO GO HOME, WE GO A BEACH”. The boys reassured her that it was OK, this was the way to the beach. She calmed.
We got to the beach and I parked the car. I got out and decided to reposition the car then as it was sticking out more than I liked, and Laoise got hysterical that we were going home. She thought I was going to take this promised beach trip away from her. She was getting tired. Things weren’t really boding all that well.
I distributed the luggage between the boys and I (they carrying a couple of shovels, me carrying the picnic bag, all the clothes and the kitchen sink) and took three steps before Laoise, dropped the bottle of water she’d insisted on carrying and fell. She had a sore hand. And a sore leg. She needed to be comforted, she demanded to be carried. I put the two huge bags I was carrying on one shoulder and hoisted her onto my dodgy hip and our caravan proceeded.
The beach is a short walk over a cliff which I rarely do without another adult to help out. Today was optimistic. I tried to climb the path but couldn’t manage to carry her, and every time I put her down she just stood in front of me and pushed me back. “LIFT MY UPPPP, CAH-WEE ME”. I considered getting the boys to carry the bags but they were simply too heavy for them.
A passing lady saw my plight and very kindly insisted on carrying my enormous bag so I could tend to Laoise. To her a owe a debt of gratitude.
We got to the not yet busy beach just after 11am, the place was pretty quiet and the sky was this blue:
It was pure heaven.
I grew up right beside a beach and there’s something about that sea air that lifts my heart and connects with me.
The kids derobed and we slathered on the suncream, Laoise taking care that the beach rug didn’t get sunburn by liberally applying the cream to it too, in giant squeezes.
We got comfortable and after not too long (say three snack requests) our friends arrived. We mammies sat on rugs and chatted, with fewer interruptions than ever. The kids played nicely together, every time we looked up they were smiling (except when they were asking for something to eat).
We had an unglamourous and unpretentious picnic that was enjoyed by all, and enhanced by my wonderful friend bringing a surprise flask of tea. We had a lovely, lovely day, made even lovelier by the surprise at being on the beach in August in Ireland after the awful summer that we have had.
I sat there, just soaking up the moment. Watching the kids amuse themselves, happy in each other’s company, splashing and building and laughing. My friends and I joking and chatting nineteen to the dozen while doling out crackers and raisins. Relaxed.
I turned to my friends forgetting the struggles to get to the place I was only an hour earlier and I said “this is the mammy I thought I would be”. (deep, huh?)
They laughed first, but I meant it. I just didn’t realise that this was a part of my definition of mum, or of the role of a mum.
There I was sitting on the beach, kids playing happily, sun shining, surrounded by good friends. This was a flashback to my childhood, my mother and my aunts on the rugs, Marietta biscuits being shared among my cousins and I as we challenged the rules on how deep we were allowed to go into the sea.
I felt like I’d suddenly reached a milestone in motherhood, I was living a memory that I hoped my kids would have. This was a moment in the life of the mammy that I thought I would be. That I had hoped I would be. It gave me such a sense of contentment that I feel I need to seek out more of these happy milestones now.
Voting remains open in the Boots maternity & infant awards where I’m a finalist in the Best Parenting Blog category. I’d really appreciate your vote if you enjoy the blog and have a moment. You can vote HERE. THANKS!