David was able to take the day off Saturday, so we hopped a train from Penn Station and went to the beach. Michael was thrilled to ride a "big" train, and thanked the gentleman who sold us our tickets, adding, "I'm so proud of you!" just for good measure. (Nothing like a little job-well-done validation from a two-year-old).
The train trip was only about 40 minutes, and Michael spent the entire time glued to the window pointing out other trains and cars and airplanes as they flew by. When we arrived at the beach and Michael saw the huge ocean spread out before him, he tried to run through the sand as fast as his little feet would carry him, though not before we could slather him with sunscreen and give him several lectures about staying safe.
Fortunately for us, he remained cautious about the waves the entire day and would only venture into the surf if he was holding tightly to one of our hands. As I had visions of our little daredevil fish getting sucked away by a giant wave as he dived into the ocean by himself, this uncharacteristic hesitation was fine by me. We spent hours playing in the waves and building sand castles, and Michael was able to splash to his heart's content. We did bring a camera but never pulled it out, as I'm not one for interrupting family fun to make a record of it (especially when there are water and sand and other camera-ruining elements involved).
Not only was it a day of family fun, it was a learning experience as well. Here are the top ten things we learned at the beach:
10. It is impossible to have a classy tattoo.
9. It is easy to tell fake boobs from real ones.
8. If you must adjust your bikini every time a wave hits, your swimsuit is the wrong size or the wrong fit.
7. Baby oil and old man is a frightening combination.
6. If your skin looks burnt to a crisp and has moved beyond "sun-kissed" to "leathery", you need some sunscreen in your life. And probably a dermatologist on call.
5. Any woman who has a child needs a little support in her swimsuit. Any woman who has a grandchild needs some sort of lifting apparatus in hers.
4. Stretch marks should never see the light of day.
3. For every woman who looks good in a bikini, there are 50 others who do not. Of those 50, at least 40 should never even look at a bikini, let alone wear one.
2. Thong-style speedos are just as scary looking as they sound.
1. As gross as a tight little speedo is, even more disgusting is a too-large speedo that allows a plentiful cross breeze to travel underneath the fabric and blind unwitting passers-by with the view.
Ah, lessons of life that one could really live without.
But mostly, what we learned is that it is nice to exchange some of that city grit in our hair for some sand and a couple of seashells, spend time with family, and arrive home exhausted and sore (and leaving a trail of sand behind us).
Oh, and we also learned to make sure you cover every bit of exposed skin with sunscreen, otherwise you'll end up with a lovely red stripe on your back where the sunscreen missed, and thighs so sore you'll never be able to walk again.
Small lessons, but important ones. Who knew there was so much to be learned from a visit to the beach?