Most nights I like to "re-set" the house before I go to bed. Toys stored away, dishes washed, couch pillows back in place. It seems silly, at times, to do this because I know that first thing tomorrow morning, I will stepping over toys, have a sink overflowing with dishes, and won't be able to find the missing couch pillows. But, I like order. And a nightly reset gives me the illusion (mirage?) that I still have a bit of it left in my life.
Order is nice. Routines are helpful. As a rule, that is my preferred modus operandi.
But every one like me needs a friend like her.
The text comes to me, "Hola Amiga! You want to go to the beach on Wednesday?"
Why, yes, I think I do.
My other friend, Dawn, (who, like me, is also a scheduler/planner/orderly type) decides to throw caution to the wind and join us.
No naptimes for the Littles. No laundry or cleaning or meals getting made that day. No Daddy's to help us carry our gear or supervise our seven children. But no worries. We've got this. (We wore our capes under our clothes.)
It took us 2 hours (instead of the predicted 45 minutes) to get from my house to sitting on a blanket by the beach. But we would not be swayed by the traffic jam or deterred by the long trek to the bathroom. Dawn & I both just brushed off our tattered mom-pride as we picked up our strollers that we accidentally flipped (with babies inside) because we loaded them with too much stuff. We would have our beach day no matter what.
The hike from the sidewalk through the sand to the ocean was a long one. I dragged my big ol' BOB stroller loaded with a baby and all the fixin's. A beach umbrella. A portable exersaucer. Blankets, towels, sand toys, diapers...
And then there was Dawn. As I trudged through the sand I kept looking back at my friend who had 22 month old Tyson to encourage along. She was so weighted down by their bags that she couldn't carry him. By the time they made it, she said, "I feel like we just spent 40 years wandering through the wilderness."
But somehow, the stress seems minimized when you're with friends.
And in between yelling for the big boys not to go out too far and nursing Karis and comforting Dawn's Littles who were not huge fans of the beach, we talked. And laughed. And did life together. Because it's better that way.
After our shoulders had been kissed by the sun and all the children had as much sand on the inside of their swimsuits as the outside, we decided to go get a treat. A special treat at a special place I knew about. So we begin the long journey of rinsing sand toys, shaking out blankets, collapsing umbrellas and exersaucers, and hiking across the sand. Back through the wilderness.
On the other side of wilderness were showers. Cold showers. And I'm not quite sure what all the onlookers thought as I held my son under the water while he laughed and screamed and tried hard to run away.
Once everyone was pottyed and dry clothed, we loaded our gear back into the car, buckling 7 kids into carseats. We drove to our long awaited treat spot, unloaded 7 kids, and walked up to the door to find it closed. They closed at 6:00. My phone said 6:01.
Dawn's kids were too tired and young to be obsessed with the treat, but there was no way Lina and I were getting off the hook that easy. Thank goodness, Lina knew of another great ice cream shop.
So then we ate ice cream for dinner...
Eat up kids. This is dinner.
There were no high chairs at this joint so I held Karis in my lap while feeding her with one hand and eating an ice cream cone with the other. The thought ran through my mind, "Sometimes I impress myself." But then I had a flashback of the flipped stroller with Karis laying helplessly on her back. Ok, ok, not too impressed.
Lina said, "I'm glad we did this."
Me, "Yeah, it was such a fun day."
Lina laughed and said, "It's funny how so many things can go wrong and we still think it was such a great day."
Yep, and (cue Jack Johnson song), it's always better when we're together.
Laundry and dishes and couch pillows can wait for tomorrow. Some days you just gotta get to the beach.