Is It Worth It? Let Me Work It

We took a last summer hoorah to Galveston beach a few weeks ago.

The big boys and Alex took the car and went deep sea fishing. No worries. Our AirBnB had a community pool that was far, far away from my immortal enemy Beach Sand. I wrangled the Baby into his swimsuit, lugged him downstairs, stuck him in his stroller and we were on the way.

Unfortunately, the community pool was double locked and none of the keys I had in my possession would open it. I stood, staring at the gate forlornly, while the sun beat down on our heads.

There was a beach within walking distance but I wasn’t completely prepared for the beach and would have had to walk back to the rental to get more stuff. I didn’t want to do that so we just continued our trek to find water.

After a ten-minute walk, we made it to the edge of the beach parking lot, which was covered in sand. Despite Alex’s previous protests, we had rented a beach wagon for this vacation because I knew that lugging this kid across the sand would be difficult, especially since Alex had thrown his back out right before we left.

But I had left the beach wagon at our rental.

The stroller can’t be that bad,” I thought to myself as we started to cross the parking lot sand dunes.

About three feet in, the stroller wheels locked up and threatened to tip over. I righted it and stood looking at the waves lapping at the wet sand fifty yards from us. The Baby was wearing new water shoes and I thought maybe he could walk with assistance to the beach but as soon as I set his feet in the sand, he sat down to play in it and he wouldn’t stand.

With the strength of a mother who had already wrestled her child into his long-sleeved rash guard and wasn’t going to waste that effort, I heaved the Baby onto my shoulders and threw the stroller out of the way of any passing cars, praying our beach towels wouldn’t fly away or our AirBnB keys get stolen. I trekked across the parking lot while the Baby happily grasped the new fragile baby hairs at my temple that I have been taking expensive vitamins to regrow. When we got to the water, I spun him off of my shoulders and plopped him into the shallow waves.

I spent the next hour rotating us like a rotisserie chicken because I had only put sunscreen on his face when I thought we were going to be in a regular pool. I also became an expert at figuring out where to sit to protect him from bigger waves that might have toppled him. While he’s gotten better at not actively trying to drown himself, we’re still working on safety awareness and he spent an awful lot of time with his face very close to the water.

After chatting with a neighboring child and clarifying that, “No, {the Baby} is not blind” and “Yes, he has teeth”, we were ready to go. So I heaved him onto my shoulders again and we started the long walk back to the stroller. The sand accumulated on my wet sandals so I looked like I was becoming a villain in The Mummy. I had also stockpiled sand in my bathing suit bottoms and it was slowly trickling out like some sort of perverse sand timer. We made it back to our stroller, which had been undisturbed, and had a pretty uneventful evening.


I’ve been doing some positive affirmations about my parenting recently. “I’m a good mom. I work hard for my kids.”

In the story above, The Baby probably would have been totally fine with splashing in a bathtub. He didn’t specifically request that I lug him across hot sand so he could practically drown himself in salt water. But, in that moment of decision-making, I felt that I owed it to him to get him there. So I did.

Maybe I feel the need to affirm myself because parenting is so fucking hard. I have a teenager who’s in the “nothing’s cool except complaining” stage of development and a 6-year-old who requires a lot of work for sometimes an underwhelming amount of positive feedback.

I don’t have children that shriek with gratitude when Alex and I make an effort to haul everyone down to Galveston so I have to pat myself on the back.

But, every once in a while, I get the feedback that I desire and it is glorious.

We went down to the Pleasure Pier one evening while in Galveston. (No, that’s not the red light district.) It’s a small amusement park with overpriced shitty food. The Kid and his friend took off as soon as we slapped their bracelets on them. I had purchased a ride bracelet for The Baby, even though I knew that I was on the hook for all the rides because ole’ infirm Alex’s back was still out.

We rode the swings first and The Baby found himself unimpressed but we finally hit our stride with the Merry-go-round and Frog Hopper ride.

You guys, it felt magical.

The sun setting over the wide expanse of the ocean, the cool sea breeze brushing our faces, my boys making memories. A deep sense of gratitude for the life I’ve been given washed over me and I started crying on the Pleasure Pier.

This is why I haul my kids to Galveston, heave them across sandy parking lots, drag them to parks, and make things harder on myself. Because sometimes it’s worth it.

3 thoughts on “Is It Worth It? Let Me Work It

  1. Beth, I greatly appreciate how you engagingly describe your internal and external world. Travel is a reliable muse for you because of the novelty and hidden adventures. Please travel more and write as you go.

  2. I think it is definitely worth it- most definitely for ‘the Kid’ and ‘the Baby’. Taking an extra friend was over the top and just plain wonderful! You are a good momma married to a good man. i LOVE your life stories.

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