Saturday, June 4, 2011

Learning to Ride the Waves

I’m not sure if it’s the mama in me or my unrelenting type A personality that drives me to envision each new adventure with James as one straight out of a story book…One that will miraculously transform itself into a scripted journey making me a shoe-in for mother-of-the-year in the process.   Whatever the reason, it’s an obsession that I pretend doesn’t exist.  Still, I find myself freaking out from time to time when the gods of misfortune smile upon our family of three with enough chaos to make the Running of the Bulls look like pilgrims walking the path of a labyrinth.

A little chaos...

A lot of chaos

 So, it should come to no surprise that when we set out for James’ first beach trip nothing less than perfection was expected---the ” Royal Wedding” had nothing  on us!   As we drove down, visions of James scooting around in the sand or tickling his toes in the ocean programmed themselves in my mind.  I had determined how the day would play out, using these picture perfect images as a template.  It wasn’t until Newport that James to began to cry---and cry---breathe a little----(wait for it)----then cry some more.  I stayed strong, Newport was only about thirty minutes away from the beach and no one can possibly throw a tantrum that long and (A)-not fall asleep or (B)-get over by the time we arrived.  After Phil (Eddie’s brother also tagged along for the ride) fed James a few strawberry banana puffs, James chose Option (A) and fell asleep just as we were parking. 
 We walked up to Elie’s (Elie: Eddie’s middle brother , Charlie’s wife/my sister-in-law) parents’ house with our peaceful bundle of joy.  After changing into our bathing suits, Eddie went to get ice for the cooler and a few beach beverages--things that we had somehow forgotten between the crying, the attempts to stop the crying and the walking on eggshells once the crying subsided.  While Eddie was out, I decided to go ahead and try to undress James then put him in his swimsuit.  I couldn’t help it---he was like a Christmas present ready to unwrap---you know, the REALLY big one in the back, behind the Christmas tree that your parents pretend isn’t there until all the other presents have been opened.  So I did it.  Yep, I did what EVERY mother before me had warned me NEVER to do…I woke the sleeping baby!  I raced to take his clothes off and put his swimsuit on.  Arms were bending in the opposite way they were intended, legs were flying , and I’m pretty sure that James and I may have invented a new yoga position getting his little swimmers on.  Please tell me I’m not the only mom out there that has forced her child to morph into some obscure formation that only Gumby and Gymnastics Barbie could recreate---all in the name of a cute outfit.

But by the time we made it down to the beach all of that chaos had faded away---my determination to make James’ first beach trip absolutely perfect, in my mind at least, had prevailed…Then the tent the guys had set up for me and James blew away.  There I was one arm trying to keep sand and dead seaweed out of my baby’s mouth the other clinging tight to a cord on the tent.  And, there was my husband (and the other “men” on the beach with us) who I’m 90 percent sure saw my struggles  not go airborne but 99.9 percent sure he pretended that my call for help was surely a seagull having a nervous breakdown.  Yep, he just stood there staring at me.  Maybe he was imagining Baby James and  me as the next Wilber and Orville Wright, which we may have been if the wind had been five knots stronger or I’d had been ten pounds lighter.   That was it…I gave up.  My picture perfect day so far resulted in a mouth full of sand, a diaper full of sand, and a mama that wanted to bury herself in the sand just to make it all go away. 
James' skin was definitely exfoliated...
Then Eddie came over to pick up James, brush the sand off his belly and carry him down to ocean to build a sand castle.  Sand castle sand is always better closer to ocean.  Eddie began showing James how to fill up the buckets and dump them upside-down.  After Eddie assembled two towers, James must have decided to scrap the project because he clearly did a big belly flop onto the new construction.  Eddie laughed moved to another “clean slate” and started over again. Apparently, James accepted this blue-print because he watched Eddie build towers and walls…then a big wave came and washed half of it away.  Shortly thereafter Eddie lost his sunglasses attempting to jump a wave while swimming in the ocean (don’t worry the beach beverage and koozie in his hand made it out alive). ---If only the tides were different, the sand castle would still be standing…If only the wind had blown the opposite direction, the tent wouldn’t have become a tumbleweed…If only Eddie had just stayed on shore, the ocean wouldn’t have taken ownership of his sunglasses…but then again, riding that wave sure did look fun!

Eddie in the ocean WITH his sunglassess
Note that they are not attached to croakies.
I'm pretty sure this is the wave that got 'em.
What an impressive attempt to save the dollar "beach beverage" instead of the Costa Shades
My husband has his priorities I guess!
Still holding on tight to that can and koozie.
When James is old enough to go into the ocean with his Daddy I know he'll be safe as long as I tell Eddie to pretend his child is a beer
At the end of the day James’ first beach trip wasn’t that perfect journey that I had hoped it would be.  As we rolled back into town the fuel light came on, James was screaming (I swear he laughs and smiles a majority of the time),  and poor Phil was approaching hour number five of being squished in the third row seat that I’m now confident is only meant to be comfortable seating for kindergarteners and yard gnomes.  This trip may not have nominated me for mother-of-year but it definitely taught me how to ride the waves!
Napping on the beach (that hand probably has a good amount of sand still stuck to eat).
Happy Summer! 


  1. Par for the course. Just remember these words of the immortal Leonard Cohen:
    "Ring the bells that still can ring.
    Forget your perfect offering.
    There is a crack in everything.
    That's how the light gets in."

  2. I love following you, Eddie and James on here.. James is so adorable! <3