Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sun and Fun...Finally!


Two words: Sanibel Island. Yes!!! Finally a day to have some fun with my girls. They were feeling pretty used and abused by this point in our journey, and I was feeling pretty sorry for them. I had talked up Florida and so far they'd done a whole lot of nothing, or worse, we had a terrible time doing what we were doing (i.e the mall).

But it was Memorial Day, the unofficial kick off to summer, and is there any better way to spend the holiday than on the beach? Nope! I had planned on taking them to Sanibel all along, because this was the first Florida beach my Grandparents took me to when I was 10 years old. I had packed the bag back in IL, so it was stocked with plenty of sunscreen, flotation devices, sand toys, and towels. We had practiced wearing swim suits and sun hats in our backyard sprinkler, so they were able to keep all of the necessary gear on without issue.

It took over an hour for the three of us to get out the door and on the road. We drove over two bridges, the one to Sanibel being very impressive. The girls were so excited to see palm trees, pelicans, and I'm not sure but I think we even saw a wild turkey. Emily kept saying "boat!" "Look, boat!" every few seconds, as there were a lot of boats on the water than fine sunny holiday.

I have to admit I was in tears on the drive over the bridge. I remember that drive as a kid, thinking it was the longest bridge ever, and it was so wonderful to have my girls in the backseat having the same experience. The long bridge, the blue expanse of water, the anticipation of finally getting there. And we did get there to a wonderful, sunny 94 degrees.

I'm not sure exactly what beach we were on, but there was nothing but miles of white sand and endless blue water. Beautiful! We picked a spot near some other families, and then the games began. Nora and Emily, but especially Emily, couldn't decide what to do. They wanted to play in the sand, and they wanted to swim in the water. Simultaneously. Of course they haven't figured out how to be in two places at once any better than I have, and so we went back and forth and back and forth. And then we went back and forth again. I can honestly say, though, I didn't mind. I totally expected it. After all, Emily gets a disorganized in the gym room at therapy, because its big, and I brought her to the edge of the ocean. I can't even imagine what was going through her little mind!

They loved it. Nora got over her fear of the water quickly. Emily had no fear whatsoever. She kept saying, "Beach!" "Beach...I like!" I had a grip on both of them for the first hour since they can't swim, and I don't know anything about the tides, etc. For the second hour, I let Nora play with a friend named Maya. I didn't hold on to her, for fear of embarrassing her in front of her peer, but I was within arms reach the whole time. I kept my grip on Emmers. And we swam, and we picked up shells, and we played in the sand. Emily threw shells, to Nora's dismay. It was truly the best beach experience of my entire life.

We had to leave after two hours, because our parking was about to run out, and it was probably 100 degrees by 1 pm. Plus we were starving. I told the girls our time was up, and they both cried. Please note I did not say have tantrums, they cried because their hearts were broken. I felt so bad for not packing a picnic. I really had no idea our trip would actually be a success. We left Sanibel, tails between our legs. They didn't even smile at the prospect of ice-cream for lunch. They did perk up once the ice-cream was in hand, however, and Emily took her first nap of the trip on the drive home.

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