Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Travel Tuesday: The Beach Days of Summer

I grew up in the high plains and mountains of Wyoming where the cold desert landscape with its stark lines and shades of brown were beautiful to me. They still are and nothing makes me catch my breath, quite like a high, rugged, snow-capped mountain. As much as I enjoy the mountains, I'm not really a mountain girl. I don't love hiking nor do I find joy in camping. I have always preferred water.

My dad bought a boat when I was a little girl and some of my happiest memories were spent in that boat at Buffalo Bill Reservoir or at Yellowtail. The boat was quite large with a small cabin including a kitchen, table, tiny bathroom, and a bed. My sisters and I used to lay on the bed watching the water as we sailed in the water. Sometimes we would sit out top on the deck with our older sisters and pretend to tan. (Incidentally, we never used sunscreen back in those days. We often applied tanning lotion to help tan.)

My mom made my sisters and I take swimming lessons each summer. I have never been very strong, but despite that, I loved swimming. We would also visit the thermal water swimming pools in Thermopolis. I loved the feeling of weightlessness and feeling totally and completely relaxed.

While living in Sweden, we usually stayed in Sweden during the summer (unlike most expats who tend to go to their home country in the summer) because we didn't really have the money to travel. As a mother to three little boys who were BUSY, I was desperate for activities that would keep them occupied, out of trouble, and help them feel tired at night. The last reason was perhaps the most important because the sun sets rather late in the northern countries, the boys were resistant to normal and necessary early bedtimes. Faced with these challenges, I realized that hundreds of miles of beaches surrounded us within an hour of driving time. So we started to explore the different beaches and the ocean during the summer.

I soon discovered that sitting on the beach, playing with my little boys, or wading in the water with them was quite possibly the only time I actually relaxed while parenting. The relief and happiness was so strong that I tried to go as often as possible. Since then, I have considered going to the water-be it lake or ocean, and a beach to be an essential component of a successful and happy summer.

This summer was no exception. We spent a lot of time at a local lake, swimming, playing in the sand, and trying to catch fish. These lake expeditions were a great way to hang out with friends. I would send out a mass email to a bunch of friends giving them a time and date we were meeting at the lake. Because it only cost $7 per car to park, it was a reasonable fee.

The last day before school, Brent came with us and we went to a beach in Stamford, Connecticut. The ocean really is special. I really need to make more visits happen to the ocean next year.

I'm so glad I live near lakes and the ocean so I can visit often. Spending time on the sand and in the water really bring me a lot of peace and joy.

What is an essential summertime activity for you and your family and why? What makes you feel relaxed whiled parenting or are you super uptight like me?


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