Let’s talk about adventures with kiddos. Are they fun? Yes. Are they totally worth it? Yes. Are they exhausting and an absurd amount of work? Also, YES.
I love going on adventures with my kids. My girlfriends have jokingly dubbed my adventures “mandatory family fun” as I pitch them all of my ideas with promises of how much “fun” we’ll have, gosh darn it!
Since we’re in full swing of summer, I’ve now done a few day trips to the shore. Each time, as I slam closed the back hatch of my small SUV, I silently marvel at all of the gear I’ve had to shove in there for just one day of fun. Seriously, my car looks like I’ve packed every single thing I’ve ever owned in my entire life. A Yeti cooler and a Thirty-One utility tote packed to the brim. Packed lunches that will only be half eaten before they’re coated in sand. Just short of one million snacks that will end up as seagull food (whether purposely or not – those birds are nuts!). Frozen water bottles. Towels galore. Swim diapers. Regular diapers. Beach toys. Sunscreen. Umbrella. Chairs. Dry clothes. Boogie boards. Portable speaker. A few more things I’m probably forgetting to mention. I mean, really. There’s practically not even enough room for the actual children.
But then, we get there. The sun is shining, the sea breeze is blowing, and despite having to schlep all of the previously mentioned crap to our sandy spot, everyone is happy. My kids are beach babies. They play nicely. They jump in the waves. They build sand castles. It really is a little moment in time of pure joy, and dare I say it, successful “mandatory family fun.” I happily snap photos of my sandy little blue-eyed blondies and revel in my successful mom-ing moment.
You know what comes next – the beach exit. Everyone is hot, sunscreen-y, sandy and TIRED. The quick and breezy jaunt TO the beach has somehow now become what I’m sure running a marathon in the desert must feel like. The bags are sand filled and no longer nicely packed and the straps hurt my crispy shoulders. The kids are whining that they’re “tooo tiredddd” to walk, and the baby is saying “Mommy, hold me.” There might even be (most definitely) some tears. The rinse off at the outdoor shower leads to fighting and more whining.
Finally, everyone is back in the blazing hot car. After a few minutes on the road, everyone settles in. Dare I say, sometimes there is even a nap (which inevitably means bedtime will be a nightmare).
The last leg of this adventure ends when we pull up to home. Then comes the unloading, dragging ALL of the sandy and unorganized bags back into the house for unpacking and laundry galore. Bath time. Pajamas. Bedtime stories. Heavy eyelids (mine, for sure). As I lay there thinking about how I tired I am, the baby takes a pause from her bottle and says “I was chasing the eeeagles (seagulls)” and her big brother laughs and says “and that huge one stole my chips, that bad bird!” They giggle. And I smile. Fun, as it seems, was achieved. As I scroll through my photos while lying in bed, I see sand-covered kids grinning from ear to ear, and I know that the adventure – and all of the mayhem that came with it – was worth it. I’m making memories with my kids that they’ll look back on one day. And that, my friends, is what it’s all about.
Until next time, enjoy some adventures. It’ll be FUN, gosh darn it. I promise.