Beach Mother’s Day
This year for Mother's Day, my brother and I decided to treat mom to a ”Day at the Beach.” Our mom grew up in the Midwest and when she moved to California she was so thrilled to be able to go to the ocean that it became one of her favorite places. Nowadays, she doesn't get down there very much, so we thought it would be great to treat her to a wonderful day on the sand and near the surf. We wanted to bring back memories of her childhood (she used to pretend she was at the beach with her friends when she was young, spreading towels on the floor, putting lunch in a cooler, and wearing her bathing suit), but make it a grown-up affair.
We invited mom over to my house for brunch on Mother's Day with the plan to whisk her and dad (who was in on it) down to the beach for lunch and beach games. My brother and his wife were already at the beach site, setting up for her surprise.
When mom and dad arrived, we told them the plans had changed and we were taking them out. We didn't say where and told mom she'd just have to wait and see. She doesn't love surprises, but went along with it, giving dad the evil eye. He played his usual innocent self and we were on our way.
Once we started down the canyon toward the beach, mom got a smile on her face. Lucky for us, it was a warm and sunny day and while it would be cooler at the coast, the blue sky was free of clouds and the breeze was minimal. We pulled into the parking lot of our favorite beach and told them we had arrived. Mom looked unsure while exiting the car, but then caught sight of our set-up.
A large blanket was spread on the sand near the water. A folding table with chairs sat on top. The table was covered with a white tablecloth and fully set. In the middle was a glass vase with small shells that I glued around the rim for mom to keep. It was filled with fresh flowers. My brother and sister-in-law made their way up to greet us and we could tell mom was thrilled with the arrangement. We came prepared, I announced, and put a big beachcomber hat on her head and handed her a big bucket filled with beach stuff – sunscreen, sunglasses, bottle of water, shovel, Frisbee, paddle ball set and a book perfect for summer reading.
We all walked down to the sea and mom noticed several other items intended to make our day at the beach an enjoyable one. There were comfortable folding lawn chairs for relaxing in, beach towels, surfboards, an umbrella, and more buckets and shovels.
We all sat down and I opened a large ice chest filled with fried chicken, sandwiches, potato salad, coleslaw, cheeses, grapes, apple slices, strawberries, and pasta salad. Another cooler contained iced tea, soda and water. A large basket holding crackers, chips and mom's favorite cookies was also available. We sat for a long time eating and talking. Mom reminisced about her childhood, told stories about her own mom and remembered fun times we had at the beach when my brother and I were young.
After we were sufficiently full, we gave mom her present – a pair of comfortable canvas folding lounge chairs connected at one arm rest. It included cup holders and a foot stool so you could put your feet up. We told mom and dad to try it out while we moved over to our beach chairs. We hoped they would use the chairs frequently and return to the beach, just the two of them. We relaxed and watched the waves roll in but the ocean proved too inviting for my husband and brother so they changed into their wet suits, grabbed their surfboards and went for some rides. It was fun watching them, something my mom had never done before.
We asked mom if she was up for some activities and she was game. First, we went on a beach hunt, combing the sand for items like blue sea glass, driftwood, shells, smooth sea stones, sand crabs, different types of seaweed and coins. The person who found the most, won. It was mom, of course (really we didn't fix it), and she was rewarded with a small bucket of beach treats – gummy fish, saltwater taffy, Goldfish crackers and shell shaped chocolates.
A game of sand sculpting was next. We separated into two teams and each created a sand sculpture. It felt good getting down and feeling the sand in between our fingers. I could tell mom was excited to be using her talent for design. With her lead, she and I and my brother made a dune buggy. It was awesome. We all agreed it was better than the alligator helmed by my dad's team, but I took pictures of both anyways. A passerby applauded our efforts and I asked him if he would take a picture of all of us. He obliged and alas I had the final piece to a memorable day.
We stayed a while longer, enjoying being barefoot, and wrapped mom in a blanket when she said it was getting chilly. As we packed up to go, mom thanked us for making her feel young again and bringing her to this special place. It was a perfect Mother's Day and we all felt fortunate to have shared it.