Ahhhh…... those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.
And I do mean CRAZY!
As I've told all of you before, summer is my favorite season. Folly Beach is my favorite place to be and relaxing on the beach is my favorite thing to do.
“FORGET YOUR TROUBLES, COME ON GET HAPPY, YOU BETTER CHASE ALL YOUR CARES AWAY. SHOUT HALLELUJAH, COME ON GET HAPPY, GET READY FOR THE JUDGEMENT DAY.”
This particular July day, with our family of four, I thought I could forget all my troubles and be happy...... NOT SO!!! Because it felt like judgement day to me.
It was a day filled with blue skies. It was a fluffy white "name-that cloud" day with the most wonderful, warm tropical breezes.
We always carried numerous "toys" to keep us occupied... not that we needed anything, but we liked to "do" things at the beach, not just bake in the sun. Playing handball, shelling, playing frizby, body surfing, talking, listening to music, and let's not forget the best part... eating.
This particular day, I think all of Charleston had decided to go to the beach... not just any beach... Folly was the beach of choice.
It was difficult to find a vacant spot to sit on the sand much less room to put a blanket down. And I didn't carry a dinky towel. We travelled with a huge blanket. One that all four of us could get comfortable on.
A place was spotted and we proceeded to set up for the whole day. As far as the eye could see... PEOPLE… hundreds of PEOPLE... and they all had the same idea... with all of their paraphernalia; people surfing, people jogging, people building sand castles.
John was on the blanket with us and Brandon decided he would play in the sand next to us. That was OK with us ‘cause I could see him out the corner of my eye... or so I thought. Besides, there were lifeguards on duty that day to make sure everyone was safe and we never let our children go in the water without an adult. So, as we sat talking, I was sure Brandon was still playing in the sand next to me. But, when I turned to check on him, he was gone... GONE!
My head did a 360 like Linda Blair in "The Exorcist"... this COULD NOT be happening! "He was right there!!!," I screeched, "David, where is he? He was right there just a second ago!!!"
Panic set in. We jumped up and started scanning the beach with our eyes... NOTHING!
Besides, how could I possibly spot him amongst hundreds of people?
We split up, David going to the left, me to the right. I was running down the beach headed for the lifeguard stand when my eye spotted a little figure in a bright red bathing suit, his head of blonde hair just glistening in the sun, running in the opposite direction. Do you know how fast a five year old can run?
"Oh my goodness! When I catch him, I'm gonna kill him!" I thought. (Well, as a parent you know how panicky we feel if our children get away from us for 5 seconds in a grocery store or a mall. And it happens to ALL of us—no exceptions. You can think of those stories now as you’re reading about mine!)
What a relief I felt when I spotted him. Happiness... anger; anger...happiness. But I have to remember, he's the child, I'm the adult. We should have been more attentive, and he should have never wandered off...but he did.
Anyway, I finally caught up to him and I grabbed him and squeezed him so tight I thought I'd broken him. Scolding would happen... not then... but later on in the day when my body stopped shaking and my heart stopped pounding (so hard that I'm sure everyone on the beach must have thought they were listening to a boombox). We had a "Come-To-Jesus" meeting about NEVER LEAVING US without letting us know first.
I really don't know what he learned from all that, but I learned, as a parent, there ain't no relaxing with kids. Sit up, stay alert, keep your eyes ON your children and enjoy your day... maybe. And as far as judgement... we are always so much harder on ourselves than anyone else could ever be. At times we can't let ourselves be human.
We all make mistakes, we just hope and pray that we don't make them with our children.