It was a huge weekend, anticipated for weeks.
Nana was coming to visit.
I asked Alma repeatedly what she wanted to do with Nana when she came to stay with us for a couple of days. She said “she’ll give me bunny ears.”
The chick has a memory like an elephant. (What exactly is it that elephants remember? That their life is boring? That bathing is still unnecessary although you smell that foul?)
She actually remembers that Nana gave her and Huck bunny ears around this time last year for Easter. She was 2 then.
A Nana visit means great anticipation.
Not for Alma. She has to be reminded about how many days are left. She still thinks anytime after today is “tomorrow.”
Huck has no concept of time, particularly when it comes to when it is appropriate to wake up screaming and demanding milk.
A Nana visit means I am counting down the days until I have a spare moment alone with my husband.
I count down the days until I can have a conversation with my mother that’s not over the phone and interrupted by her News Director looming over her at the top of the 5 o’clock newscast. (she also works in this Godforsaken business)
So, when I get the text message from my mother saying her flight has been delayed by an hour I immediately feel a lump swell up in my throat like a rock.
Then I get all weirdly hypochondriacal and convince myself the cramp in my calf is a blood clot and I am about to die without seeing my mom one last time and my children will grow up motherless and turn into drug addicts.
She still arrived in time to see the kids before they went to bed.
We still got to go to dinner.
It was probably just a leg cramp.
We had a wonderful visit with one exception. It’s those damn expectations that destroy everything.
We made plans to go to the beach on Sunday, just my mom and me and the kidlets. (My husband can feign feeling left out, but we all know he gets the best part of that deal)
We started by swinging by McDonald’s to get the kids something quick to eat. My mom totally freaked out while I was driving because Alma’s egg white was sliding out of her sandwich. Like… full on crisis mode.
Huck’s oatmeal was too hot and had chunks of fruit that could pose a choking hazard.
So, we ended up sitting in the Target parking lot waiting for an eternity for the kids to finish their food.
I think my mother underestimated just how long it takes my daughter to consume even a small portion of food. Even without television to distract her, each individual bite comes with a 3-4 minutes pause in between. It’s like she has to digest each morsel before moving on to the next.
So, we eventually make it inside the Target where I spend the college funds we were never going to start buying a bunch of crap for the beach.
Got a cooler, umbrella, weird screw shaped thingie to get the umbrella into the ground, sunscreen (which is ridiculously expensive… and is probably just lotion with ZERO SPF… and we’re all gonna die of cancer anyway) and fruit, cheese and juice.
Oh, and Minnie Mouse flip flops because Alma refused to leave the house without wearing her pink cowgirl boots.
We find parking at the beach despite it being Spring Break. I wait in line at the parking pay station for some dipshit with a million quarters to pay. Seriously, are you really going to stay at the beach until TOMORROW?
That dipshit is followed by another dipshit who doesn’t understand which buttons to push.
That dipshit is followed by another dipshit who doesn’t remember what their parking space number was. So, they just keep trying endless combinations like they’re trying to crack a safe filled with cash.
Finally, we pay and start to load up our gear. We managed to find a way to carry all of our crap, without realizing that we also have to schlep two small human beings across a busy parking lot.
Like two pack mules with midgets, we wobble across the boardwalk to the beach.
On the other side, we’re immediately slammed in the face by gale force winds, pelted by sheets of sand. The kids burst into tears simultaneously, cowering and grabbing at the beach chairs I’m holding. The strap is digging into my shoulder like a scythe.
Alma is screaming that her flip flops are digging into her feet.
But, we keep moving. There has been much to do about this beach day. The last cancellation of a beach day led to a wild tantrum by my daughter that could’ve gotten her Baker Acted.
We end up trying to set up shop behind a sand dune, but we were being sandblasted. The kids were terrified. It was Lawrence of Arabia dermabrasion for babies.
So, we find a way to gather up our enormous haul and drag the screaming kids back to the car.
Poor things had sand in their eyes.
My mother and I were chewing grit for the rest of the day.
The inside of my purse could fill an hourglass and then some.
We ended up trying to salvage the day by heading to a park. I had to sit and watch our stuff because Lord knows that even in St. Pete some crackhead will steal your purse. My mother was watching the kids on the playground and had the revelation that it’s impossible to keep them both safe.
Alma is ideal for snatching and Huxley is hell-bent on playground suicide.
The wind was just as strong. Check out my kids speeding down a raceway. Or just sitting in a stationary car.
My mom had the genius idea of filling their buckets with ice from the cooler so they could play with it like sand. Note to self and to any Florida moms. Ice is cheap or free and won’t get stuck in anyone’s crevices.
This is the kind of afternoon that leads to what we refer to as the “cruise ship effect.” There is much consumption of alcohol followed by big evening plans that turn into an unusually early bedtime.
It’s like, “Let’s hit the midnight buffet! Yeah!” Then, you wake up drooling at 2:30am.
I actually caught my mom snoring during “The Road.” And she loves Viggo Yellow Rice Mortensen.
I had a great time, but it was no day at the beach.