Day four or is it five? Honey is losing steam. Her grandma mode is fading and everyday she seems just that much more worn out. I think I can use this to my advantage.
“You know Honey,” I would say, “if we lived on an island thousands of miles away they are less likely to visit as often, maybe only once every two or three years.” Then I would give her my best Cheshire cat smile. But it’s only day four and she would probably look up with weary eyes and let go of enough choice words to make a sailor blush. I think I’ll wait until day seven.
Today is Beach Day. I know this because the little people are up and they are happy. No one is crying yet. Today is compliments of Honey; she has made all the arrangements. This tells me that of all the days that might flow smoothly, today is the day. There are five adults Bull, Tattoo, Company, Honey and myself. Today we have the little people out numbered 5 to 3, it might go in our favour (How is it that I ever survived being a parent?).
This is the only day in which Honey has planned an activity during her grandchildren’s entire eight day visit. This may seem odd to some of you but when our kids were young and we would go visit their grandparents there was always an agenda when we arrived. We would have to be here, at this time, to meet that person. This always required us to get out of bed early and get our children ready to go long before I, Honey or the kids for that matter, were ready to do that. We always believed it was our holiday too and all activities should be on our schedule not someone else’s. This is why there has been nothing special planned other than Beach Day, we didn’t like being given an agenda, so we wouldn’t do it to our children.
That said though, when it comes to agenda planning there is none better than Honey. I’m betting she had this day on her mind as she uttered that infamous question, “wouldn’t it be nice if the grandkids came for a visit?” She had coolers cleaned, beach toys bought and the meal plan planned weeks before the little urchins landed! This day may not have had multiple lists attached to it to the extent of last year’s wedding, but it did have more than one!!
So there is a master plan for the day. With four adults all younger than myself, albeit two are pregnant, my part of the plan is simple. Drive the car, carry the heavy stuff, stay out of the way “and for cryin’ out loud, don’t be grumpy!” I can handle this. I know this is a special day and I will do my part.
The day starts early fueled by the anticipation that was fed to the children the night before in an effort to get them to sleep. The smiling faces are a good sign. Company is expected to arrive at 10:30am, the kids are in their bathing suits and ready at 8:30. Something tells me this is going to be a long day. To her credit, Company is on time something I have learned in the last couple of years is not the norm. Company, BulToo and the kiddies pile into Company’s vehicle (the only one big enough to hold six people) and head to the sand. Honey and I drive in a separate car with the supplies.
We hit the beach and unload all the gear required. The kids grab shovels and buckets and head onto the sand before I can get the first beach chair set up. Tattoo gets them settled into constructing a castle and returns for the first tag off. It’s been ten minutes. This could get ugly.
The day had started cloudy but cleared within a short time of us arriving and the sun shone brightly the entire day. Honey has a much different relationship with Mother Nature than I do. Honey and Company head out to assist in the construction. They stand and give directions to the pint-sized people. “Put the sand in the bucket Elyza,” I hear company say, “No Elyza… the bucket… not your hair!” She looks at the rest of us, holding up her arms and shrugging. “She keeps putting sand in her hair,” she tells us. What did you expect?? She’s 18 months old!!! This is the first beach she’s ever seen!! At least she’s not eating it!!!
“No problem,” Tattoo tells Company, “We’ll give her a bath when we get home.” She is calm about the sand in the hair, Elyza is number three and that makes Tattoo not sweat the little stuff. Company is working on number one and she has no real idea what is coming. She has lots of nieces and nephews that she’s been practicing with but just wait until she finds out what kids do with their poop.
I can see that Honey has made some head-way. She has got a couple of piles and the older kids are engaged. She is smiling and laughing with them. I know by the look that she will be stroking, build a sand castle off her list. I join them and survey their work. Okay… maybe just, build a sand pile off the list.
I get down in the sand with the miniature Michelangelo’s and start helping them fill their buckets with sand. They hold… I scoop. They’re chattering away at me about what they’re trying to build and being at the beach and that grandma has watermelon for later and going in the water after they finish the castle and… Watermelon!?? What do you mean watermelon???Honey and I never eat watermelon!!
But this is Beach Day and Beach Day has watermelon for the kids and fresh watermelon was on the list along with the cutting platter and sword to cut it with. Beach Day belongs to Honey.
The castle gets built and there is swimming and the picnic lunch with watermelon. The kids play, the sun shines and there is no crying, even from the adults. When we leave seven hours later, everyone is ready. The last stop is Mickey Dees where grumpa shells out $70 to feed them all. 70 Bucks!!! I could have got 3 pizzas for 40, no one would have cared!!! But everyone stays happy and the kids are asleep before I get out of the parking lot to head home.
To Honey, Beach Day is not just going to the beach for a day. It’s like a Birthday party with sand, a special day that has special meaning to her. Beach Day represents a day from Honey’s past, long before the rest of us, that moment from her childhood when she had one of those ‘best days of her life’ experiences. I know you know what I mean; we all had them as kids. Beach Day is a day that Honey wanted to share with her grandchildren, so that they too might experience that same pure joy of life that she had had as a child. You’ve got to love her for that alone.
I think you can stroke that one off the list Honey.