You may be wondering what the big deal is. People take their kids to the beach in the summer all the time. In fact, back when I was growing up on Long Island my parents took us nearly weekly during the summer, sometimes even more frequently. Long Island has great public beaches on account of basically being one huge sand bar. You might think it only natural that I take my kids to the beach, but I confess I only did it because Margaret wanted to go so very badly.
I am not a fan of the beach. Playing in the water is nice, but I sunburn very easily (which should come as no surprise to anyone who knows what I look like), I am not a fan of sand, but most importantly bright sunshine tends to trigger headaches for me. Back when I was a kid I didn't have any hats, let alone the selection of wide-brimmed hats I currently own, and sunglasses in my prescription were definitely not in the family budget. Nearly every beach trip gave me a splitting headache, often long before we left. Frankly I find it baffling that so many people will deliberately spend their hard-earned money on vacations that involved spending the entire time on a beach, but by now I've gotten used to the idea that people who are not me are often inclined to love what I hate.
So, the beach. I haven't been to one since I was living at home with my parents and have not missed the experience one little bit. I'm pretty sure that the one swimsuit I actually own, purchased something like 25 years ago, does not fit even when I am not hugely pregnant. I really had no intention of ever taking the kids to the beach, but the thing about kids is that they will go and form their own opinions and preferences. When Margaret and Warren went to California last month for the wedding of Warren's eldest nephew there was a pre-wedding beach barbeque. Ever since then Margaret has been agitating for a trip to the beach. You may have noticed from a previous entry or two, but I have difficulty saying no to my kids.
My parents are in town for a few days, which is why the trip happened now. I knew there was no way I could supervise both kids on the beach at a day shy of 38 weeks pregnant, and then there was the bathing suit issue. My mom brought an old, overstretched suit of hers to sacrifice to the cause. So we went, and Margaret screamed with delight pretty much the entire time. She was a little timid about the water at first, but that wore off. She was eventually willing to go in up to her waist with me holding her hand. Duncan was more dubious at first, but he ended up enjoying it too, though a bit more sedately. Aside from about ten minutes in the water with me I mostly left Duncan to the grandparents, while my time was spent continuously going out in the water with Margaret, then back up to where the grandparents were, then right back out and into the water. It was tiring, especially as the distance between the grandparents and the water increased as the tide went out, but Margaret was clearly having a great time.
We spent two and a half hours at the beach. Margaret was very upset about leaving, but everyone else was ready to go, especially me. We might have to squeeze in one more beach trip before the new baby comes if we can, though that will have to be on a weekend when it's bound to be more crowded so that Warren can come too. I am still not a beach person, but Margaret really, really is.