Merrily We Stroll Along
Feb 26, 1996
On the weekends, Peter and I generally try to do something fun with our children. Sometimes we go to the ocean to walk on the beach. Often we fit a trip to the dollar store into our errands too. The migration from the car door to the store usually tends to be life-risking.
As soon as my kids unbuckle their seat belts, they throw open the car door and start bolting for the store entrance.
"WAIT! STOP! YOU HAVE TO LOOK BOTH WAYS FIRST!" I cry in anguish. They look at me as if they're immortal. Then I point to a puddle and say, "See that little puddle?"
"That's a little kid who didn't look both ways before he ran into the parking lot."
"You see that big puddle? That's a whole family that didn't look."
It never makes an impression on them though. They splash on irreverently, soaking their sneakers. After we've bought a piece of junk for each of them that will last sixty seconds, we go to the beach.
We like to walk by the ocean in all kinds of weather. We leave the house on what feels like a balmy day, arriving at a coastline that feels like an expedition with Admiral Byrd. I realize that none of us are wearing hats. Within seconds everyone's ears look like red bell pepper slices.
Peter and I walk closely together holding hands. As we have our romantic moment smiling and talking, the kids run until they disappear over the curve in the earth. We have to scream at them to stop and wait for us. "This is so relaxing," we quip.
My sons find sticks and probe the bellies of frozen jelly fish. They gather up hunks of dismembered crabs to bring home and stash in secret places.
Later I am attracted to their room by the stench of rotting marine-meat. "Do you need this for something?" I say when I find the stinking box of claws.
"Yes! Those are for SCIENCE!"
(I imagine my older boy trying to transplant the pincers onto the hands of my five year old with a needle and thread.
"If you let me do this, you can become an alien!"
Gracie draws beautiful pictures in the sand, which are quickly snatched by the waves. Even in the worst cold they all frolic like puppies. If I gave them permission they'd probably whip their clothes off and jump in. Peter and I feel as frozen as Washington's troops at Valley Forge.
"Let's go home and have hot chocolate," Peter says.
"Noooooo, you never let us have any fun! We wanna stay! Can we go swimming now?"
"No, we're catching pneumonia, we have to go home now."
"We just got here, we wanna stay, we wanna stay."
By now, little Tadin is pooped and needs to be carried. Against great wailing and gnashing of teeth, we trudge back to the car and collapse inside. As Peter revs the engine and cranks up the heat we look in the back-seat and see them slumped on each other, snoring already.
Now that's what I call a cheap thrill.
Kimmy Sophia Brown has loved humor and music and freedom for as long as she can remember.She is especially passionate about the environment and caring for animals.
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