We celebrated the Fourth of July with my husband’s family at their beach house in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.
We camped in a tent in the “front” yard (facing the beach, not the road, since beach houses are turned around!). We wanted to let our son get comfortable with the idea of sleeping in a tent for our big camping trip in a few weeks.
Surprisingly, our son went right to sleep in the Pack ‘n Play. Slept right through an hour of fireworks and through the night as well! We adults sat on the beach by our campfire, watching fireworks from every town lining Long Island Sound. We saw about 8 different fireworks displays at the same time! Granted, some were far away, but the one closest to us was amazing!
Then we joined baby in our tent. Fell asleep to the tune of super-loud crickets.
This morning, we geared him up in UV clothing and walked to the water as the tides changed. He grabbed his mini pail and shovel and started digging. And tried to eat a shovel full of sand!
I realized something about taking a baby to the beach – I am not going to stay clean. Or dry. Nope. (for those of you who know me, you are laughing. Because you know I am a clean freak!).
Our son decided he would march right into the water. He stumbled over some small stones, and fell forward, catching himself with his hands. We were only in water a few inches deep so he was fine. But he got nervous and wanted to be picked up.
So there I stood, water from his soaked shorts and shirt sluicing down my cute beach outfit. Not clean. Not dry. And not caring – because in that moment, all I wanted to do was reassure him he was safe.
My son looked at me, smiled. Took his sandy hands and patted me on the face and shoulders. Like he was saying, “Thanks, mom!” and, “Go ahead, it’s okay to get dirty!”
I stood there holding him, watching the water slide in and out around my ankles. Feeling the grittiness of sand on my skin.
I thought about tides changing and how life with our baby keeps shifting and changing. How the gritty moments you didn’t expect or even want teach you the most.
Last year we carried him everywhere. Now he trots along where he wants to explore. Parenting is like the give and take of tides. Sometimes you feel pulled out into the unknown by the current. Other times you feel bouyed up, your feel touching down on the shore as you master the changes life throws at you.
How has life since having children been about give and take for you? What are the biggest changes and the best realizations?