The other day I noticed we had some potato chips left over from 4th of July. Now I'm not exactly a stickler when it comes to food - we're pizza lovers who can be swayed by a persistent child with a sweet tooth - but potato chips rarely make it into our home. Why? Because all they are is yummy junk. Right? I can't think of a single redeeming quality and yet, if they're here, we're going to eat them.
I knew we had to get rid of them immediately and the best way to do that would be with a picnic and a peanut butter sandwich. There's just something so nostalgic and summery about pulling a PB&J out of a cooler and stuffing it with potato chips (after brushing the sand off your hands, of course). (Not sure if this is a universal pleasure or just something I picked up from a friend's mom a million years ago at Lake Tahoe...) It's weird and satisfying and something that doesn't make any sense at all unless you're sitting on a beach.
Our day had practically planned itself.
Only once I packed the cooler and the beach bag and the car and got everyone sunscreened and swimsuited and into the car (always takes at least an hour longer than I expect it to...) and we drove across town to our favorite lake beach (Anderson Beach at Percy Priest Lake) which ALSO took longer than usual because there was some road work being done and a detour, we were super sad to find it wasn't open.
The sign said it was closed for the winter season but I'm guessing they just didn't have a, "Too Much Rain Makes Beaches Go Bye-Bye," sign on hand. (It rained allllll of 4th of July weekend except for about an hour and a half when we got to go down to the park to watch the fireworks. We still swam and grilled out and had a great time but it was much soggier than usual...)
Whatever the reason, the beach was closed. And the natives were getting restless. You can only say, "We're almost there!" so many times before children start to believe WE'RE ALMOST THERE. They were ready for the beach! And the picnic! And to NOT be in the car any more!
Especially Liam who had tried to find Finn a snack in the cooler but couldn't because all that looking down and rummaging made him feel carsick.
We needed a Plan B STAT.
I found a couple other public areas at the lake that looked promising to me but they boys weren't having it. They wanted sand, dammit! It was almost funny how picky they were being. We stopped places that were too grassy. Too sunny. Too...campy. When we finally settled on a spot to get out and eat it had too many butterflies which (who knew?) both boys found TERRIFYING.
We still ate our chip sandwiches, but without the super hunger you get from a good swim and sand between our fingers, it just wasn't the same. Plus, there were those butterflies circling around us like vultures so Liam and Finn both had to be ON MY PERSON at all times.
Not exactly the moment I was going for.
But that's life, right? Plans and expectations are one thing, reality is quite another. If you can't figure out how to roll with it, you're likely to get rolled over. I knew we had a choice to make. We could wallow in disappointment, chalk it up as a failure and head home, or use the momentum that got us out of the house in the first place to just keep going and see what happened.
We chose option 3.
There was no sense in staying at the lake as no one but me was having fun. That's a lie. I wasn't having fun either. I like to think I was because being outdoorsy is something I'd like to be, but I'm selective outdoorsy at best. I like pristine conditions. A sandy beach. A beautiful view. A picnic with no one sitting on top of me.
So we got the hell out of there and went to the pool.
And after we were all pooled out, we picked up Bill and went to Mexican food.
And then I surprised everyone by taking us to Love Circle to watch the sunset. (They were like, "Where's the surprise?!" I was like, "Uhh, this is the surprise..." I guess they were hoping for ice cream?)
It wasn't at all how I had pictured our day but in a way it was better. Because they day it turned into was a day I had never pictured at all. It just sort of happened, like life often does, and we got to go along for the ride. Turned out to be a beautiful, perfectly imperfect day.