Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Bored at the Beach or, you can take adolescents to the beach, but you can't make them have fun...

FINALLY, it's not so blasted hot outside!  I decided to take the kids to the beach.  Silly me, I thought they might like this idea.  It was a fairly recent year when they enjoyed spending the whole day collecting shells and fiddler crabs in a bucket, splashing each other in the surf and playing in the sand.

Now, it's a whole new world.

"We're going to the beach today."  I remind them, first thing in the morning.


"Do you want to go to the beach?"

I guess.  Which beach?

"The one with the small waves."

Oh good.  I don't want to see anyone there.  If we go to the other one, we might see people I know.

This reminded me of when I was their age and I went to the beach with my mom.  I had BEGGED my mother to take us to the beach year after year, and she would only take us once or twice a summer, it seemed.  She was not a beach person.   I remember once, when I must have been about 13 and she did take us... or did she just take me, since I am the oldest, and probably the only one begging to go?  She marched to a spot on the sand with her piles of stuff while wearing what I thought was the weirdest, most prim and proper bathing suit in the world, and I trudged along behind her, enduring the stares and comments from the older teenagers in their micro bikinis and cut-offs.  How humiliating, to be there with your mother!  She settled on her towel and did not look happy OR comfortable (perhaps we were there because she had finally given in to my relentless nagging?)  A very short time later, I couldn't wait to go home.  It was a silent disaster.  I don't think I EVER asked her to take me to the beach again.

Today, upon arriving at the beach...

I don't want to sit here, let's walk further away from the lifeguard, you know, so I have less of a chance of seeing anyone I know.

(Am I that embarrassing?)

"Why don't you go in the water?"

I don't want to go in the water by myself (it was 15 feet away from our chairs - egad!).

"But the water is RIGHT THERE."

Well, there's too many people here.

"How about you?"

I'm not going in the water.

"You're not?"

No, I don't like to go in the water.  I just want to get a tan.

And so we settled in, somewhat, and I read about a dozen or so pages in my book while they splashed each other with water from their water bottles, and irritated each other in general.  I ignore most of their complaining as I ignore most of their nagging, so I wasn't really paying much attention when my son, who had been nagging me for french fries, started burying one of my feet in the sand.  My legs were crossed, since I was trying to tan my side as the sun went down.  My book was engrossing
(And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini), and quite honestly, I was trying to tune him out...





Suddenly, I became aware of what he was doing.  I looked like I was getting some sort of spa treatment with hot rocks.

"Mom.  I'm bored."

"Can we go home?"

After another hour, I relented, and took them home.  But not before I somewhat successfully dunked my son in the surf.  I say "somewhat" because he is now bigger than I am, and the only reason I was successful at all is because he stubbed his already injured toe on a rock in the process.

Ah, beach memories in the making...


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