We’ve officially participated in our first beach day of the season and let me tell you, it was fabulous!
I cannot begin to explain to you how important these days are in one’s mothering career.
They go hand in hand with the coffee/play-date, popcorn for dinner and the elusive, “Mom, we are going to play in our rooms quietly so you can get some work done.”
These moments may not come often but when they do they are the ultimate blessings in disguise.
I’ve been feeling a great love for my friends recently, not that I don’t always, but as of late I’ve really been appreciating them all. So I decided I would plan a day at the beach where the kids could frolic and splash gaily in the water while we relaxed, watched our babes and conversed over all the weird and wonderful things we do as mothers of small children.
The kids managed to mash up together beautifully. There was no, “I don’t like him!” or “She’s being a farty butt head.”
They all seemed to get on quite ‘swimmingly.’ As did the grownups. It is a wonderful thing to be able to sit back and appreciate the coolly self-assured age we all have grown into. Gone are the days of catty remarks behind a friend’s back or simply not being sociable with someone because your current friends don’t approve. Now, in these mature and confident times we live in, we simply do what we want. Fancy that.
The day was one of the best days I’ve had in a while. There were laughs, snacks and good conversation between parents.
I was just beginning to think that nothing could ruin it when Sophie began walking toward our blanket bow legged with an odd look on her face.
“What are you doing?” I ask her eerily.
“I had an accident.”
Not now. Not here.
This had been happening as of recently. For some reason in the last few weeks, these “accidents” had been on the rise and it was maddening.
The worst part was upon inspection there were no pants involved and the accident in question had smeared in a slapdash mess beneath the flowered sundress she wore.
I lost my cool. I admit it here and now.
The bad mood monkey attached itself to my back and from that point on I was no flower to be around. I grabbed Sophie by her arm and dragged her begrudgingly to the dingy beach bathrooms to clean her up. While we did our business in there, I began explaining to her (quite loudly) why she must use the potty every time.
As I sit here writing this I think about my daughter in a few years and wonder what she will think of me writing these kinds of tales about her and Lars for all to read.
My finger lingers over the back space button. But then I chalk it up to a little payback and leave it.
It was near the end of my exasperated rant that I realized Carla, one of my newer friends from our play-date group, had made her way in with her daughter to use the washroom. Oh no, I thought, did she hear me yelling at Sophie?
This is one of those make or break moments in a new friendship, isn’t it? Maybe I’m not as assuredly aged as I had hoped.
We made our way out of the stall and approached Carla and her daughter as they washed their hands. I, perhaps with a sheepish look on my face, moved towards the sink. She gave me a knowing smile.
“Ugh, sorry about that, it’s just so frustrating sometimes,” I said because really, honesty is the best policy in most ill-at-ease circumstances.
“What?! Don’t be sorry, we’ve all been there! I’ve went through the exact same thing with my kids, too. Don’t even think twice about it.”
When regression happens with potty training or any kind of milestone, it can make us feel like the worst parents in the world.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again: motherhood can be a dangerously lonely game. But it makes it that much easier when we have new and old friends alike to help us through those tough moments. To know there is someone else who understands.
When Soph and I made our way back to the spot where everyone sat on the beach, I realized how lucky we were.
Surrounded by good friends, a beautiful day and contentment. So in the end, a mishap made for an enlightened day — and isn’t that all we can ask for as parents?
Lindsay Brown is a Sylvan Lake mother of two and freelance columnist.