Monday, August 22, 2011

Our Family Beach "Vacation"

I use the term “vacation” lightly, because as any mommy knows, “vacationing” with kids is NOT relaxing.  In fact, it is the exact opposite of relaxing and it requires more work than if you had just stayed home.  I use it in the same tongue-in-cheek manner in which I used it the first week the boys were home after school ended in June.  Let me tell you something right now – MY idea of a vacation involves a lot more alcohol and a lot fewer trips through the McDonald’s drive-thru.

Hubby packed his week’s worth of necessities in one small carry-on sized suitcase.  Underwear? Check.  Swim trunks? Check.  Toothbrush? Check.  

And he was done.

I packed for myself and the rest of the family, which was a 4 day venture.  I had to wash and dry all of our clothes so that I’d have plenty from which to choose.  (I have a propensity to spill on my “shelf,” so I always travel with a LOT of white shirts.)  Then I had to bring the giant you-could-fit-a-body-in-there-if-you-had-to suitcase upstairs from the basement. 

I had a list, complete with little boxes to check off because, well, have you MET me? . . .

This year, as an added treat, my entire family shared a house at the beach.  It was my dad; my brother Slim and his wife; my brother The Redneck (who did not bring any of his ex-wives, hehe,) and his three children; and my family of five.  Collectively, we traveled from Northern Virginia, West Virginia, and South Carolina.

For those of you who are confused already, the important information to glean from this cast o’ characters is that there was only ONE mommy on duty.  ONE. 

The following is an abbreviated list of the mommy tasks for which I was responsible.  (In all fairness, no one asked me to or made me be the mommy, but I've discovered that "Motherhood" is a reflex that you can’t turn off.)

The Parrot Heads called.
They're looking for
their mascot.

  • make sure that six children wear sunscreen.
  • make sure that six children shower/bathe after leaving the beach, wash their hair, and use actual soap AND shampoo.
  • make sure everyone remembers to wear underwear (this mostly just applies to my Medium, and possibly my dad on one occasion.)
  • make sure no one sleeps with the tv on all night.
  • make sure all bike riders are wearing helmets.
  • remind the children that if a car hits you on the Beach Rd. at 35 miles an hour because you weren’t paying attention, you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.  (Your mother, however, MIGHT blame me. . . )
  • wash 13 beach towels.  Repeat.
  • make children pay me a quarter for every time they utter the words “I’m bored.”  I'm pretty sure this is how we're going to fund their college education.
  • make sure no one gets overly tired or overly hungry so we can avoid a meltdown bigger than my a$$ in a swimsuit.
  • concede that Mommy made a huge mistake by insisting that the sand isn’t that hot and that we could climb the largest sand dune on the east coast in our bare feet. . . at noon, on a sunny day, in August.  Oops.
  • take Small outside the restaurant to burn energy so that the only dinner he ruins is mine.
  • keep my introverted brother, Slim, from having a massive head explosion once he is exposed to the chaos that defines my everyday life.
  • try to convince The Redneck that unless you’re Jimmy Buffet, you need not be fixin’ to wear that Hawaiian shirt.
  • make sure that when a group leaves the house, the same number of children who left is the same number of children who return.
  • talk Hubby down from the ledge after he tells Medium, who is dying of thirst, (I know this because of the incessant repetition of “I’m sooooo thirsty” and the dramatic collapse into the sand.  I’m quite perceptive,) that “you’ll never drink water again.  No more water for you!  Ever!”  The short-tempered apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, folks.
  • make sure that, while it is common practice to pee in the ocean, (oh stop it, you know you do it too,) that one does not poop in the ocean.  For that, we walk back to the house.
  • make sure no one drowns.  At least not on my watch.
  • wash swimsuits for those attendees who packed only one swimsuit for 7 days at the beach.
  • make sure no one in our party looks directly at my dad’s legs lest they risk blindness, since his gams clearly haven’t seen the sun since the last time he was in the Outer Banks in 1975.  This is also known as the last time I wore a bikini.
  • make sure that Small’s ingestion of sand is minimal, even though his daytime diet consists mostly of sand-covered apple slices, sand-covered grapes, sand-covered goldfish, and a sand-covered sippy.

At one point I wiped out in a giant wave, and I crashed directly into my 69-year-old father.  Once I made sure he was still standing, breathing, and had a normal pulse, the only thing I could think of to say was “that’s a whole lotta woman comin’ atcha, isn’t it, Dad?”

We had a great time, but I am so glad to be home.  I had about all the family togetherness I can stand.

Yep, he dressed himself.
You gotta pick your battles.


  1. Ahhh, aren't beach trips grand?!
    I still can't get over that "LIST" you'd wonder you and Moira get along so well and I'm the odd (disorganized trainwreck) one out!!!

  2. Love this..."make sure that when a group leaves the house, the same number of children who left is the same number of children who return." I noticed you didn't clarify they had to be the SAME children ;)

  3. oh, and this is why I LOVE that Chris has 3 sisters. I may be the only in-law brave enough to hit the family vacations, but I'm not the only mommy!


Be nice, kids.