It had been a long morning at home, full of dark clouds and April showers. Then, miraculously, the sun made a guest appearance. As soon as the kids were finished napping I knew we better make a run for it while we could. I threw a Costco-sized bag of Goldfish crackers and a beach towel in a reusable tote, put a hat on my unshowered head, and rallied the kids up from their nap,” Let’s get out!”
“Moooom, where are we going?” my daughter asked as I buckled her little brother in his carseat and handed each little set of hands a cup of Goldfish.
“It’s a surprise,” I said, backing out of the driveway, “You’ll love it!” I reassured her. You see, the truth was we were headed to Edmonds beach, right by the ferry and train tracks, and there was limited parking. I honestly didn’t know how busy it might be or if we’d even find a spot. I had a back up plan in mind and knew of park nearby, but I knew if I told my daughter we were going to the beach, I’d have to commit no matter what. Even if that meant parking blocks away. I wasn’t sure I was prepared to do that.
“Mooom, just tell me.” she kept pestering as we waited at the world’s longest red light.
“If you guess it, I’ll tell you.” I glanced back at her with a wink as the light changed green. “There’s no way she’ll guess it right?” I thought to myself.
“No.” We are golden, no way she’ll get it if she just keeps guessing family member’s houses.
“You got it!” I replied. “I have to tell you though, it might be busy and there might not be parking. We’ll just have to see when we get there.” Please let there be a spot.
We drove over the train track crossing and into the parking lot near the beach, but it didn’t look good.The shining sun meant that it was totally full and no one would be be leaving anytime soon. Decision time.
“Uh oh, looks like the parking lot is full.” I explained as I looped around towards the exit.
“Does that mean we can’t go to the beach?!” my daughter cried.
“No, I think we’ll be able to go, it depends if I find some street parking within a few blocks here.”
“It depends on if you find street parking?” she repeated.
“Yes, that’s what I said. Give me a minute here. Let me concentrate.”
“If we don’t find parking, then we can’t go to the beach?” she tried to confirm.
“Hadley, hold on a minute.” I said firmly, pulling into a street spot. It was a couple blocks away, but definitely doable. I knew I hadn’t packed the stroller for my son, but I was determined at this point.
“Alright, we’re here!” I sang grabbing the tote. “You’ll have to hold my hand as we walk,” I instructed both of them. “We have a little way to go, but not far.”
We started our walk to the beach, or I should say, our snail’s pace stroll, as my one-and-half-year-old son was mesmerized by all of the world. His mouth gaping open at the birds that flew above, rocks on the ground, leaves that moved in breeze, airplanes flying over head and people walking by. Hadley looked up ahead anticipating what we’d walk by next. We were hand-in-hand, walking to the beach. I felt a wave of warmth rush through me as I realized the fun of this outing had begun for my kids already. I was frazzled trying to hurry them along to try and get down to the beach before they complained about being tired or thirsty or hungry and we’d have to bag the whole thing and call it a day. But as I felt both of my hands clasping their little fingers, as they jumped, skipped and strolled along the sidewalk, I felt how happy they were and we hadn’t even got to our destination yet. Hadley said hello to everyone that we passed by. Young, old, walking a dog or drinking coffee, it didn’t matter to her, she offered her greetings to EVERYONE.
Not that I am biased in any way, but I have seen how people’s faces light up with delight at the sight of my girl shouting, “HI!” and giving them an abrupt wave. Now her little brother, John, repeats everything she does, so these strangers are getting a double dose of cuteness.
As we walked along the sidewalk, passing some of the homes and shops in downtown Edmonds, my kids said hi to everyone that passed.
“Hi!” Hadley yelled.
“Hi.” John chirped in response. Smiles erupted on my kids’ faces, the passing stranger’s face, and mine as well.
Finally, we made it to the beach. And it truly was a glorious sun-filled afternoon there in the sand. The ferryboats dodged in and out as the train zoomed passed and people walked by. But the most beautiful sight was the smiles on the faces of my children. The adventure for them had begun the minute we left the house, stepped out of the car, and just started spending the time together.