The reality never quite lives up to the fantasy, does it? You’ve planned a wonderful outing for the family. Lunch, snacks, and suntan lotion are ready to go. The car is full of gas, the route is laid out. You are going to have some FUN! The kids are excitedly running around gathering up hats and toys. It’s go time. And then…
And then it slowly starts to unravel. One child can’t find his favourite hat. The other can’t find her sunglasses. You find substitutes but there is a bit of grumbling. You’ve got them in the car; one decides they need to go potty one more time. Back in the car, you’re three blocks from home when you realize you forgot the bag containing lunch. An extra spin around the neighbourhood and this time you’re really on your way!
Fifteen minutes into an hour-long car ride one child won’t stop calling the other names and the other is screaming. You pretend they haven’t just had breakfast and raid your stash of snacks just to get ten minutes of peace. The child sitting behind you won’t stop kicking the back of your seat and you’re two kicks away from pulling over on the side of the highway and strangling both children right there.
After another potty break for the child who refused to go before you left and a Tim’s break for much needed coffee for the grown ups (and a box of Timbits to assure another ten minutes of quiet) you’ve arrived at your destination.
One child is thrilled to be there (a sentiment that lasts approximately five minutes until he realizes that you ran out of snacks during the car ride over and you refuse to pull out lunch since it’s only 9 a.m.) while the other proclaims that “this place is soooo boring” and wants to head home immediately. You plaster a smile on your face, grit your teeth and exclaim, “We are going to have so much FUN!”. You fail to notice that all the other parents are going through the same thing and assume that every other family on the beach is having a great time.
After an hour of listening to one child complain that they’re starving and the other complain of boredom, you decide that 10 a.m. is a perfectly acceptable lunch hour and set out the picnic. You’ve packed two ham sandwiches and two tuna sandwiches; both children want bologna. You eat the packed lunch and spend $34.50 on hot dogs and french fries for the kids; they eat approximately half a hotdog and six fries between them before declaring themselves full. Ten minutes later they spot another child eating an ice cream cone and act like they can’t live without having one too. You can’t live with the whining so you give in, handing over another $7.10 in the process.
Half an hour later one of the children is puking on the beach.
At least there’s plenty of sand around to cover it up.
By 11 a.m. everyone is cross and exhausted. You throw in the towel and head home. The car ride is eerily silent; the kids can sense that mom and dad are right on the edge. When you get home everyone gets sent to their respective rooms to decompress.
The next day the kids tell grandma about their outing and declare, “It was so much fun!!”
You know that you’ll do it all over again next year.