This summer was a bummer. The weather really never got hot enough for long enough to warm the creek around here, and the kids never got to go swimming. Well, because of poor planning on our part, we have both milk cows out to be bred, the result of which is no cows to milk. What this means in negative terms is, we have to buy milk. What this means in positive terms is freedom! As in, we don't have to be home at 4 to milk the cow. Bret and I struck upon the same idea at the same time, and decided it was the time to get away for a couple of overnights. First choice: the beach, as none of my kids have seen one but for Una, who was under two at the time.
Having an old friend--one's best friend from high school, in fact--living on the Gulf of Mexico--is a very good thing. I asked if he would look into cheap hotel suites (is there such a thing?) in his area, and he insisted it would be no imposition to have us stay with him--although he lives in a one bedroom apartment. We took him at his word, and I was so proud of my kids...they really behaved very well for being in tight quarters for 3 nights.
They also behaved very well in the van, seeing as it was an 8 hour drive for us, not counting stops for food and bathroom breaks.
Logistics of such a trip for a family of eight can be daunting. I remember Bret and I, B.C. (before children) going away for a weekend with a duffle bag. Gone are those days...it was like a deployment to get out of here.
It was all worth it, though, first of all to see the person who was my best friend through the highs and lows of my teen years after nearly three decades. Wow. That was really something. And then, watching the kids as they romped in the sand and surf for the first time was wonderful. I spent the first 8 years of my life in NYC and the beach was always taken for granted. The first day at the beach was only cut short after Adrian nearly came too close to a jellyfish, and someone nearby on the shore spotted a hammerhead shark that came up too close for comfort. The second day was drizzly and overcast, and the kids played in the surf until we heard thunder and made them get out.
My friend Robert's apartment complex has a pool, so the kids made use of that as well.
Thank you so much, Robert!