About a week ago at the dinner table, Andy and I chatted about some of the things we used to do before we had kids, things we enjoyed then somehow stopped making time for. It was a small list comprised of things like going for runs together, road trips, watching a movie on a work night, etc. And we knew it wasn’t the babies who were getting in the way of these things; it was basically just us feeling limited or lazy or TIRED, tired allllll the time. We also realized that with each child, the temptation to never leave the house again just grows. So we got all brave and excited and booked a hotel in Hilton Head, well, two hotels because most were already booked for the holiday weekend. We packed all the STUFF and planned to leave early Friday morning. There is no greater packing list than the ones for babies and beaches. It’s blows my mind, all three postpartum brain cells I have left.
We were on the road early. We got coffees and filled the car with gas. Brite slept, as she tends to do. And Marin yelled “Fwuck!” with each passing truck. Oh baby pronunciations, how I wuv you. We stopped for lunch in Macon then jumped in the car for the last three-hour leg of the trip. Oh, and there was screaming. But we knew there would be, so we just tried to tend to the needs and stay the course…with out “uh, you think she is hungry again?” And “C’mon, let’s pull over.” We were more like “She just ate and burped…she is fine.” Bam.
At one point there was an amazing and magical game of crying ping pong going on back there. One would scream and wake the other; then the other would scream out of frustration for being woken up. Imagine that lovely hour and a half. Marin eventually got over the fact that she was only getting a twenty minute nap instead of her usual hour, and Brite eventually settled too. We drove across the bridge to the island with the windows down and happy babies.
We checked into our hotel. Marin ran into the room chatting about her “seaside holiday” with hotel wonderment. She jumped on the beds and climbed on the couches. She dialed random numbers on the phone by the bed. “Uh oh, Mommy, man on phone. Uh oh.” Oops, haha. What is a hotel stay with out a prank call or two anyway?
That night we walked to a nearby restaurant and sat in a shady spot outside. There was live music and a setting sun. Marin drank her weight in chocolate milk. Andy and I split a rum and coke. We danced in our seats to “Brown Eyed Girl” and “Chicken Fried.” After dinner we attempted a walk to the beach but turned around once Andy discovered it was a mile and a half walk with a toddler who wanted to be carried the WHOLE way. We decided to drive instead.
We pulled up to the beach and let Marin run her heart out. She was the most joyful and free I’ve ever seen her, and that does something to a mama’s heart. I never watched the ocean less. She was phenomenal out there. We stayed for an hour before Andy ended up giving a soaked toddler his shirt. With two shivering comrades, we were off to warm showers and bedtime.
I woke up early to get ready for the day and find coffee. We took the morning slow, packed up our things and headed to the beach. Everything about getting to the actual sand and shore was a process, Andy took the tent and bags while I nursed the baby and Marin pushed every button in the car. The four of us walked to the beach together on a record breaking windy day. Another record broken…the amount of time a toddler can play with a single solitary sand bucket. It was pure joy for her and pure joy for us to watch. We are still learning our daily rhythm with two kids at home, so a day at the beach felt like a gold medal in some sort of parenting triathlon. We played and dodged sand storms for three hours. It was glorious.
After the beach, we made our way to our second hotel, which happened to be beach front. Hip hip hooray! We toyed with the idea of driving to dinner, but opted for room service on our balcony, running on the beach, and swimming instead. We ended the night with swimming and watched Marin wear her floaties and swim on her “OWN!” Imagine legs moving like a frog, but not in synchrony. Precious and hilarious. The choice bribe for getting her out of the pool was ice cream. She gobbled it down while Andy got the remaining luggage from the car. We ended the day with salty skin and hair, ice cream covered lips, and worn out muscles.
This road trip will always be one of my favorites. It wasn’t just a road trip; it was the four of us learning to go on adventures, no matter how much STUFF and SNACKS and screaming there might be to get there.
I could cry that I get to keep the memory of it. Perfect. Oh and not a single baby scream on the drive home…amazing.