Fall woods

Fall woods

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Compromise

Every other year, my immediate family joins my in-laws, sister-in-law and nephews for a week at the beach.  We've been doing this since 2004, I think...going to the beach was always an important tradition in my husband's family.  This is that week.

Now, I famously don't do sun.  In the dead of summer, I'm the one out caching or soccer games in long pants and a long-sleeved shirt and a big-brimmed hat.  This isn't any Dita von Teese-like desire to be ghostly pale, just a nod to the reality that my skin is Irish but spent its youth in the sun in the Middle and Far East in the years before effective sunblock was invented.  As my dermatologist once put it, I've had my lifetime's sun exposure already.  Since I don't intend to spend the rest of my life indoors, I own a full wardrobe of all varieties of SPF50 clothing and I try to keep covered when reasonably possible.  This not being compatible with a week on the beach in summer, my husband and I made a deal years ago.

Unlike my brother-in-law, who has his own reasons for staying home, I continue to join the family for beach week.  However, back when the kids were younger, I was the one who stayed home with whichever kids needed naps etc.  I read books, did puzzles, and generally amused myself at the house.  When everyone outgrew nap time, I became free to roam during the day while they were at the beach.  I went to museums and lighthouses, went shopping, and explored, returning in the afternoons to help with baths and dinner.  Now, with the youngest child aged seven and *my* youngest almost nine, and having discovered caching in the meantime, the days are all mine for real!  I help with breakfast and dinner, organizing and still with getting Petunia's hair washed at the end of the day.  I run the errands that need to be run outside the house: groceries and drugstore runs and such.  But between breakfast and dinner, otherwise my time is my own and I LOVE it.

I spend the mornings and evenings with the family, so it's not like I spend the whole week alone.  I just don't have to sit on a beach in the sun for days on end in the interest of family togetherness.  I wouldn't want to sit still that long even if my skin allowed it.  (And you'd better believe my kids are lathered in sunblock and wearing SPF50 swim clothing whole they are at the beach.)  As an arrangement, it works for us!





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