It’s 6.10am. I’ve been awake since 5.30am even though I am utterly exhausted. No covers, open windows and a fan literally blowing in my face all night just isn’t enough to combat the heat. It doesn’t help that my back is sun burnt to oblivion so every time I turn over its pretty much agony.
Yesterday was the hottest day of the year so far and I did something all the Brits out there will understand as a little bit crazy, I went to Brighton. A few of my mum friends had planned a trip and I had said yes, then no, then yes again. I just knew it would be so hot and difficult with the kids to get there and be out all day. I was battling in my head between taking the easy option of the splash pad by our house or stepping out of my comfort zone and taking the kids on a real adventure. I was thinking about how the children would love the beach and I knew they would have so much fun being with their friends all day. I still think of my kids as being tiny and that they just won’t remember any of this when they’re older. I was talking to my friend about that the other day and we were kind of realising that we have memories from the age that our kids are now. It hit me that I need to make more of an effort to make sure they have some wonderful experiences locked away in their little heads. So, at the last minute, Brighton here we come.
We’d all organised to meet at the designated train station and had planned our route. Six adults and ten kids is a pretty big procession to get on and off trains but we were going to make it work. We all had this ‘I know it’s going to be a tough day but I’m going to enjoy it’ determination and it really spurred me on.
Let’s just say our train journey to the beach was nothing short of HELLISH. Loads of trains were cancelled so when we finally made it on, it was utterly packed. We split up into different carriages and it was just me and my mummy of three friend together with our double pushchairs. Our oldest boys had managed to get a seat together in a corner next to a less than impressed old lady. They weren’t being bad, they were just super excited and loud which doesn’t go down well on a sweaty train full of grumpy people late for work. The train filled up so much and I got totally wedged into a corner. I couldn’t even see my boy and had to just shout to him every few minutes to check he was ok! At one point, my friend was sitting in one side of her pushchair breast feeding her baby while her other child sat next to her screaming his head off. She’s pretty inspiring. People shocked me at how selfish and thoughtless they can be about piling into the train. I know they all want to get on but literally my friend had to push someone off of her baby’s head at one point. Come one people have some sense and courtesy for the little ones, just because they’re small doesn’t mean you can just squish them.
As I was standing on the train, I thought to myself if I’ve known this would happen would I still have come. I was happy that I actually felt like I would because I was being empowered by just having to suck it up and get on with things. We wouldn’t be on the train forever, although it did feel that way at some points in the journey.
When we finally made it to Brighton I think we all felt shattered already but happy to make the twenty minute walk to the beach. If you’ve ever been to Brighton then you’ll know that it’s a beach of stones and pebbles, not sand. Part of me rejoices in the fact that I won’t be finding sand in every orifice of my kids bodies and part of me wished we had worn waterproof shoes so that the journey to the sea wasn’t so agonising on our feet. You live and learn.
We set up camp and got the kids into their swimmers, as well as sun creaming them to within an inch of their lives. The water was so blue and beautiful, if I squinted my eyes just a little I could imagine I was in Italy or somewhere rather more exotic than where we actually were. We spent the entire day at the beach just playing and eating our picnics and watching each other’s kids, it was really lovely. The children (most of them) loved the water and it was such a joy to see their happy little faces. Sandcastles were out due to the lack of sand but they made their own fun with pebble collecting and wave dodging. I love seeing my children amuse themselves and find things that interest them without me having to always push them to do it. Seeing them happily fill a bucket with stones over and over again is really a joyful thing to watch.
Before we knew it, it was time to head home. After a loooooooong packing up session we were heading back to the station. A twenty minute up hill climb with two kids in a double pushchair as well as every beach supply you can imagine in thirty degree heat is pretty epic. We literally congratulated each other at the top and my body felt like I’d done a full on workout. At least the train journey home wouldn’t be as bad as it had been in the morning. Oh wait, YES IT WOULD.
Trains cancelled and delayed all over the place meant that the station was heaving with people and we had to change our route home entirely. Another long, busy, sweat inducing journey and we finally made it home to our cool showers and iced water.
I had a really lovely day, even through all of the stressful moments. I think you get extra strength to keep it together when you know you have kids that are relying on you. I needed to keep them hydrated and entertained and so that’s what I did, putting aside the sweat pouring down my body and the aches in my legs.
The children really had a wonderful day.I hope that somewhere they’ll store these moments up and feel that fuzzy feeling when they look back one day and feel like they are on the beach again without a care in world enjoying everything life has to offer them.