Thursday, September 27, 2012

Babes with Boys at the Beach

My latest Island Moon column :)

One of the best parts about being a stay-at-home mama on The Island is happening right now. This is my favorite time of year – empty beaches, warm water, perfect temperatures. 

Before my youngest started school, I spent many a fall morning at Bali Park with his buddies and mine. I am missing those mornings and those friends, so I’m going to reminisce a little, if you don’t mind.

I loved our spontaneous beach play dates. As my kids have gotten older, their schedules are increasingly difficult to juggle. So, as spontaneity has mostly vanished from my life, I crave a last-minute beach party.

One of us would send a quick text invite, and in just a few minutes, we were off. Throw some snacks and juice boxes in a cooler, pile the chairs and toys in the back of the hot red minivan, pack the towels, spray the sunscreen…well maybe it wasn’t as quick as I remember.

But I never worried about forgetting anything. At our parties, all snacks, shovels and pails were community property, and we always brought more than enough. The boys were usually starving in ten minutes, so we broke open the Tupperware and Ziploc bags. 

We shared fresh fruit, the juice dripping from our fingers making a sticky mess, homemade granola (inevitably mixed with sand), left-over brownies from dessert the night before and of course, the obligatory Goldfish crackers. Those had to be eaten last, as a seagull can spot an orange Pepperidge Farm Goldfish from 5 miles away with pinpoint accuracy. Then, snack time was over and seagull chasing began, a favorite pastime of preschool boys.

Anyway, I dubbed our spontaneous beach parties: “Babes with Boys at the Beach.” Babe of course, is a relative term. Make-up? Ha! Shower and shave? Ha! Perfect 10s? Ha ha ha! No dressing to impress, no sucking in what’s falling out (Okay maybe a little sucking in, let’s be reasonable.) and most important, no pretending.

While the boys played, us mamas shared more than snacks. We shared our lives. If Bob Hall Pier could talk, he could let you in on our deepest desires. We didn’t waste our time gossiping about other people. Instead we invested our time and our hearts in one another. We helped one another, loved one another, prayed for one another, learned from one another. We grew up together, becoming better women, better friends, better wives and mothers because of one another.

Giving your heart away is always a risky thing for a woman, but I choose not to do life any other way.

I have moved three times in the last nine years. I haven’t had time to wait five years to make close friends. I may be spontaneous about beach parties, but what I will not fail to schedule is time to forge deep friendships – for myself and for my family. And I will not wait for someone else to extend an invitation.

I have learned to reach out and say those five little words that mark the beginning of every friendship: “Hi…my…name…is…Daphne.”

Friendship is too precious a gift to be afraid to open. I believe that we were created to live our lives in community – not to waste away alone. The risk of betrayal and disappointment is real, but there is no question in my mind that the blessings of friendship far exceed any possibility of loss.

My beach buddies have moved away, and I am missing them today. So it’s time to reach out again. The beach awaits.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am so glad I am one of those beach babes!
Also I have lived the reality of those 5 words A WhOLe Lot recently! is... Sunny!