Entry 6 ~ July 17, 2009
Another Driver, Another Valium, Please
Kassie turned 16 in early May. She decided that she was too busy to study to take the test for her permit with school sports and upcoming finals. Now that school was out, I told her that she was going for her permit and that was that. Kassie's work ethic is well beyond a teenager. We were told in a parent-teacher conference when she was in the 4th grade that Kassie was "overly conscientious," and she has not changed one bit. Kass took all of the on-line practice tests until she had every question and answer memorized. She studied the drivers' book cover-to-cover. She was ready and she passed, only getting one question wrong.
What neither of us was ready for, was the fact that it was now legal for her to drive. I blessed myself as I got into the passenger seat, and Kassie climbed into the driver's seat. She got situated, wrapped her hands around the wheel, smirked and said, "okay, now what do I do?" At that point, I determined that the two miles we'd drive would be two of the longest miles I'd ever traveled. After explaining the difference between 'park' and 'neutral' and one long, frightening lap around the parking lot, we went out on the open road. Kass managed to stay in her lane, avoid other vehicles, mailboxes and pedestrians. All in all, she got us home in one piece, although admittedly, when we got into the driveway, our hearts pounding, we both sighed a huge sigh of relief. Mission accomplished.
Later that week, Ernie and I decided we would play hooky from work and take the kids to the beach, ie, the ocean, for the day. After packing anything and everything imaginable, we piled in all three little ones, Kassie and her friend. Kristin was away, so we didn't have the whole gang. We both expected the day to be a challenging and non-stop. And it was.
We had the good sense to bring the pack & play, two umbrellas, all the baby supplies we could possibly need, and then some. The day started off with me laying a beach mat on the sand and Brody promptly stepping on it and walking across it. That was my very first hint as to how the day would go, and that is exactly how it went. The babies had all kinds of fun exploring the sand, touching it, tasting it and throwing it. Ernie and I braved the shore with the little ones. Reagan ran for the surf and promptly fell face first into six inches of water. Reese took the surf more cautiously, holding tightly to my leg, despite her tremendous curiosity. And Brody, contrary to his last experience, was not nearly as afraid of the surf as he had been in years past. He loved jumping over the waves and watching them lap at his feet.
As the day wore on with the sun beating down on us, the babies immersed in the sand, and Brody rolling in it, we decided that it was time for the babies to take a break. We got ice cold milk bottles from the cooler and laid them in the pack & play under the umbrellas for a well-deserved rest. Or so we thought. People walking by, folks chatting, children screeching, seagulls swooping, waves crashing . . . rest-schmest. There was far too much activity to even consider taking a rest, let alone a nap.
The best part of the day occurred as the beach thinned out. Ernie and I brought the little ones down to the shore again, and we let them run around without the worries of losing them on a crowded beach. The kids ran and played in the surf and had a blast. Eventually we determined that it was time to get everyone cleaned up and packed up. We were completely exhausted, covered with sand, and crispy and hot from the sun. As we began the to pack, Kassie, who had spent the day sunbathing, sipping on cold drinks and walking the beach, said to me, "let's find a hotel and stay overnight and spend the day here tomorrow." Not a chance!