I gathered up towels, and extra towels just in case. Found bathing suits and got Shea dressed. Applied liberal amounts of sunscreen, trying to get Shea’s hard to reach parts as I had to cover all bases while she was sitting.
Loaded up chairs and sand toys and goggles for swimming. Then I loaded a cooler full of snacks and drinks for three kids, which they would most likely inhale in the car on the way there. Then I found the old double stroller, because I wasn’t sure how Shea would get down to the beach and how close we could park. But the stroller had flat tires from lack of use and I couldn’t then find the pump.
I was trying so hard to be on schedule (the one I had in my head) and to have this perfect day with my kids, the whole time feeling hassled and stressed, and like I was once again trying to do too much.
Shea kept telling me I would feel so much better when we got there. So much more calm when we got in the cool Lake Michigan water. She said “When I get stressed out, I always feel so much better when I go swimming.” ”WHAT?” ”When do you feel stressed out?” I asked. She is eight years old. What does an eight year old have to feel stressed about??? Maybe just having a ball of nerves sitting in front of her driving her minivan to the beach.
The day turned out to be just this side of heaven. Perfect weather, the lake was 72 degrees, the path was easy for Shea to navigate on her walker and I could put all the towels and cooler into the double stroller. The beach was not crowded at all, and the kids had a complete and total blast of a day.
The best part was being in the water. Shea usually spends her day on the beach making sand castles and playing. This time she came into the water and never wanted to get out. She can stand independently in water. She can right her balance and be by herself, walking and jumping with no walker or help. She was jumping waves and pulling her little knees way up to her chest over and over. It was crazy to watch. I have never stood by her without touching her, helping her balance and stand. I have never seen her alone, without equipment or adult, for so long. Just laughing and playing and enjoying her body and the water. She swallowed half the lake just by smiling and swimming. She would dive down and scoop up wet sand and come back to find her balance and stand. Magic, pure magic!
And she was right. We stayed twice as long as we planned to, limped to the car exhausted and sandy and peaceful. The water and the sun calmed each one of my nerves and I was proud of myself for making it all happen.
Another good day! Just took me awhile to realize it!