It was a beautiful summer evening at the tail end of a heat wave.
The humidity seemed to break just enough to make the warm air seem inviting to enjoy the outdoors again. I had been longing to go to the beach, but the thought of going with my toddler almost seemed like too much. As a mom, I often find myself thinking in terms of the logistics of it all: the preparation, the snack packing, the cleanup, how I’d manage a temper tantrum in public, not to mention the timing of it all between naps, dinner and bedtime. Of course it would be fun, but would it be more trouble than it was worth?
The thought of going to the beach almost seemed like too much – but I found that all we needed was a single bag.
We decided to go in the afternoon. I packed up our bag with only necessities and we headed to Warren Town Beach. There was a band playing at Burr’s Park across the street. The sounds of 80’s rock filled the air, though it’s not my typical jam, the music was perfect. Together my son and I splashed in the water, got sandy, played with his trucks, and enjoyed the most quality time we’ve had in a very long time. I sat in my beach chair in awe. I watched him dig in the sand, looking curiously at the rocks and shells he found. Watching him immersed in nature, seeing what piqued his curiosity around him was remarkable. The sun began to set, the waves were crashing and the 80’s rock band was still rocking! It felt like time stood still. There was nowhere to go, nothing to do, just being there in the present moment was all we needed. It was a simple moment that made a profound impact on me.
My son began to play with another boy his age. They dug in the sand, made sandcastles and laughed hysterically when the tide washed them away. As his parents and I made small talk, the other boy’s dad said to me “he seems very comfortable in the sand!” I replied that this was our first time at the beach this year. He was shocked, as if wow – it took you this long to get to the beach? Well, yes. Mostly because I spent too much time anticipating the packing, preparing and sand clean up that I had forgotten to live completely in the moment.
Did my son eat a balanced dinner that night? If a sandwich at the beach counts, then yes. Did he go to bed on time? Sort of, but we managed just fine. Were amazing memories made? Absolutely yes! Did we get super sandy? Well.. yes, but this was a small price to pay for a beautiful evening spent soaking up what’s left of summer. The sand was part of the experience and even though it will be in my car for weeks, it will now serve as a reminder of our beach outing.
Going to the beach that night turned out to be a meaningful lesson: summer, much like life, is fleeting. It is up to us each day to seize each opportunity to make a meaningful connection with our loved ones. Doing that while immersed in nature is an added bonus.
Seize the summer and make it count.
Katherine Skuba is Thrive Outside's Social Media Director