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Sunbathing, 18 vs. 43

Posted May 26 2013 12:00am

I planned to lay out this weekend. I badly needed to relax, to decompress, to get a little bit of sun on my ghostly white body. Saturday was no good. Sure, it wasn't raining, for the first time in more than a week. But a cold front had come through, it was super windy and I needed a sweatshirt, so laying around in a bathing suit wasn't an option.

Sunday, however: Sunday was another story altogether. It dawned warm and bright, with little wind and after church, I was determined to get some sun time.

My 18-year-old daughter had the same thought. In fact, when I came home from church, she had already left for the beach with girlfriends. (She always goes to an earlier service than I do.) She taken her tanning oil, towel, snack and soda, her ever present phone, and she was gone.

I had some things I had to do, rehearsals to drive for, food to deliver – and so I wasn't able to go to the beach. No problem, I thought to myself, I'll just lay out in the backyard. I really, really, really wanted to relax. I thought I might even get to doze off - you know that there's nothing better than sleeping in the warm sun.

And then the shorties wanted to come out. They saw me in my bathing suit, and the questions begin. Can we go out with you? Can we put the sprinklers on? Can we fill up the kiddie pool? Please, please, please, mommy? I thought that maybe we could have a nice mother daughter bonding time. We could spend some time together, relax from the craziness of the past couple of weeks, and enjoy each other's company. Sure! I said. Let's go out. I found a book on the shelf that I hadn't read in quite a while, and we all went outside. The first rule of instructions I gave them?

Please be quiet. Mommy wants to relax. We promise, Mommy. We understand. We've got it.

It lasted, oh, about a minute. Then the trouble began. The sun was too shiny. It was too windy. The blanket was too scratchy. How come she didn't have sunglasses? Did you know that my book has 400 pages? How many pages are in your book, Mommy? When will I have some sun? Am I already tan? How long does it take to get tan? Whhhhyyy does it take so long?

Then the crying began. The sun was too hot. I got up from my restful chair and opened up the patio umbrella. I situated the Complaining Shortie under it and went back to my chair. No sooner had I gotten my feet up and the complaining begin again. It's chilly in the shade. She wrapped herself up in her zebra print towel, tucked her book inside, and read in the shadows. They both quickly grew bored and so I encouraged them to go on the swing set. I was beginning to feel very sleepy, and I thought maybe, I could catch a nap.

The screaming began. The arguing began. Fighting over who gets what swing, the calls of "Look at me, no wait! That wasn't it. Look now. No, wait - let me try again. Look NOW! NOW! NOW!!!" Calling dibs on the slide, kicking a soccer ball. It was definitely anything except quiet. It was just about then that I got pegged in the leg with the frisbee. I gave up.

And about that time, my oldest daughter showed up. Rested, relaxed, speaking of a blissfully wonderful time with her friends and sporting sand between her toes. She spoke of rest, relaxation, a short nap and release of stress.

I'll get there one day. I'm not sure when that day is, but I'll get there one day.

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