See that woman on the beach hauling that overflowing cart? The one with the wide-brimmed hat that keeps blowing off her head. See her?
Yeah, that's me.
Bright blue beach cart stuffed full with towels, beach toys, sunscreen, beach chairs, snacks, cooler, and umbrellas.
Yes, that's umbrella-s. Plural. As in multiple. More than one.More than two, actually.
On our latest excursion to Croatan Beach last week, I had with me a beach umbrella, a slightly smaller umbrella, and two (2!) mini umbrellas that attach to beach chairs.
Yes, we are THOSE people. The ones who set up residency on an extra-large swath of beachfront property with such an expanse of umbrellas as to form something akin to a tent city.
I assure you, it is not that I am a territorial person who must find some sense of power in "owning" my small piece of beach. (Although it is the closest I'll probably ever get to having an oceanfront residence.)
My tent city has more to do with my fear of burning. And even more alarming, a fear of my children burning.
Sun-burning, that is.
The sun, that enormous ball of fire in the sky, has been out to get me for as long as I can remember. I'm sure you've guessed by now that I have been blessed with a fairly fair complexion. I was one of those kids that got a "first burn of the summer." As a teenager, I quickly realized that, once a little bit of a tan set in, no amount of "laying out" was going to get that tan any darker. And, like any good teenaged girl, I thought tanning beds would finally lend that beautiful bronze color my sister could so easily obtain just from walking to and from her car. It was promising! Up until my legs my broke out in a heat rash.
My aversion to anything UV related hasn't been all bad. After all, I have reached my mid-thirties and still run into the occasional person who, stunned by the revelation of my actual age, insists they thought I was in my twenties. There was one young woman not too long ago who actually thought I was 18! (True story; I was shopping at a shoe store one evening and the sales clerk seemed genuinely surprised when I told her my oldest was five years old. I said, "Well, that's because my kids are not with me right now. My "Mom Face" looks much older!")
All little kids love the beach, and mine are no exception to this rule. And because I love those darn little munchkins so much, I will trudge my overladen beach cart through the soft sands of Virginia's beaches. I will then scurry about, building my tent city one umbrella at a time. And when my construction is complete, I will spend the rest of beach day intermittently hiding from the sun and slathering on more SPF 50.
But that's summer. And I still love summer!
Jennifer Tackett-Hilton is a Virginia Beach transplant (originally from Iowa) and Old Dominion University graduate who swore she'd never date a Navy man.... but never said she wouldn't marry one! Jennifer and her Prince Charming have two adorable (and precocious!) princesses, ages 2 and 5, and one furry pooch, Eddie.
In the (precious little) spare time she has, she enjoys crafting, shopping for new craft supplies, and writing on her blogs, EverAfterLand.com and JenEverAfter.com. You can find her on Facebook at http://facebook.com/everafterland and follow her on http://twitter.com/jeneverafter and http://pinterest.com/jeneverafter.