A Day at the Beach or to Hell in a Minivan: a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Story

You know how you scroll through Facebook and Instagram and see all your friends showing off their smiling kids, relaxing vacations, and humorous stories about the time their toddlers said something “embarrassing” but totally tame?

Kid: Some people wear underwear!

What kids won’t say! Am I right?

So you look at everyone’s perfect lives and wonder how your friends are all living in zipadee doo da land while you’re cleaning puke off the tile grout.

Do you ever do this?

If so, I’m pleased to report that I have a story that will make you thank God for your day of grout scrubbing.

My day started at 5:15 am when I woke with my toddler snuggled up next to me. Awww. I didn’t remember him crawling into my bed in the middle of the night, but he left me a puddle of pee to commemorate the occasion.

So I got up, changed, and took my crazy little puppy for a run. A little while after I got home, the toddler started begging me to go to the beach.

“Sorry, bud. We have school today.”

“But I want to go to the beach!”

“We’re going in September.”

“But I want to go today!”

I was about to tell him that we can’t just pick up and go to the beach anytime we feel like it. But then I realized we could. I mean, isn’t that one of the things I claim to love about homeschooling? The flexibility to go to fun places on a whim?

“You know what?” I said. “Let’s go.”

I called to the other kids that we were going to the beach for the day. Everyone cheered. Two of them pumped their fists and whispered “Yes!”

“You guys put on your bathing suits and pack your lunches. I’m going to take a shower and then we’re leaving.

If you’re wondering when the drama I promised will arrive, it’s right now.

“Ugh! I’m too tired to pack lunch! Why do we have to do everything?”

I swear, people, my kids can complain about anything.

Ugh, Santa brought more presents than I can fit in my room!

Oh no! I only have a week to finish all this candy before my trip to the chocolate factory!

Wah! Mom won’t let me fart into the dog’s mouth!

So there was yelling, fighting, threats and cursing, all before 9:00 am on a day we were headed to the beach.

Anyway, I finally got in the shower for five glorious, silent minutes. I turned off the water and was immediately greeted with cries of

Mooooommmmm! Come quick!!! Help!!!

I ran out of the bathroom in my towel and found our new puppy, Raven, coated in mud. Coated. It’s possible that she’s somewhere in this scrum.

In 5 minutes, the kids had taken her to the back yard, let her get coated in mud, and let her back in. Raven then trampled over every surface in my house. Every inch of carpet, the tile grout I’d just spent 6 hours scrubbing, and the sofas that I don’t even let human people sit on.

I ordered the kids to start scrubbing, then put on a pair of underpants so I could run downstairs and grab the dog for a bath.

Sometime in the 3 seconds it took me to do that, my son managed to let Raven back out into the backyard. I suppose I could’ve gone back upstairs to get some more clothing, but I couldn’t stand the idea of getting something muddy, so…

Don’t judge me! We have a 6 foot privacy fence and she was only on the deck anyway. But yes, I went outside 95% naked. (There are no photos to go with this part, but you can trust the gopher I scared off with my mom boobs.)

At this point, I should probably mention that I have 2 dogs. My 12-year-old Boston Terrier, Lucy, was coated in mud too. I’m not sure how much of the damage she’d caused, but she can barely walk, so I decided to tackle the puppy first.

Raven has nearly doubled in size since we adopted her 3 weeks ago. I’m not sure how much she weighs, but it’s definitely more than I can front raise. Even still, I carried her at arms length up the stairs and into the tub.

After scrubbing 2 dogs and a sofa, I said, “Kids, I don’t know if we’re going to make it to the beach today.”

They were inconsolable. “But we love the beach!”

“I just don’t think we have time. Let’s go to the pool. I’ll buy you ice cream.”

“Noooo! Beach!!!”

Lord knows why, but I agreed. We piled in the car and drove to Sandy Point State Park. The ocean is 2 hours from my house, but Sandy Point has a beach and boardwalk on the Chesapeake Bay, and it’s only 20 minutes away.

Finally, we arrived. The wait to get into the parking lot was insane, and there were news helicopters flying overhead, but my fried brain didn’t notice that anything was amiss.

But there was. There was a big miss. The beach that we’d spent all morning trying to get to was closed. Debris cleanup from a storm.

And that was my day.

How was yours?

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