For the past few summers, I’ve been doing one-on-one days with each of my kids. A few weeks ago, I hit the American Girl Place in NYC with my daughter. Last week, I went to a local trampoline park (and DefCon 1 games place) with my 8-year-old son. Yesterday was Mommy Day #3: A beach day in Ocean Grove, NJ with the 11-year-old.
We definitely had a few hiccups. We were going to have lunch at Nagles, but they’re closed on Tuesdays. The pizza place we’d enjoyed while there a month ago was apparently not as popular with anyone else, and it was closed. We did get lunch, and got to the beach, but about 45 minutes in, the lifeguards blew the whistles and ordered everyone out of the waves. Someone had spotted lightning a few miles off. So we had to be out of the water for an hour. It never did rain, but a gust of wind kicked up. Suddenly, someone’s unsecured beach umbrella was hurtling at us. It grazed my son’s leg and cut through our towel. Like seriously left a big hole in the fabric. I’m quite glad it didn’t impale my kid.
But — except for a torrential downpour on the drive home, and a sunscreen leak in the beach bag that destroyed my shoes — the rest of the trip was great. I went in the water for a while with my son, but he was happy to be in the waves solo too. So I lay on the towel, relaxing, and reading Infinite Jest. We left a bit before 5 p.m. and walked to Asbury Park’s Silverball museum — a pinball and arcade place, where you pay one fee to go in and then can play everything. I was getting quite into the pinball games, though alas, I never came close to setting a high score anywhere. My son had set a high score on one of the pinball games for the under-13 set when we were there in early July, and we were thrilled to see that the record still stood!
We ended the day with ice cream cones from Day’s — an Ocean Grove tradition for our family — then hopped in the car and came back. Even in the pouring rain it only took an hour and a half. We’re so close, and I love the beach. I probably should go more often. It’s also fascinating to see how chill a beach day with an 11-year-old can be. Very different from watching a 3-year-old! They do grow up.
In other news: Thanks to everyone who emailed me about the event in NYC on WEDNESDAY August 15 (my apologies for writing Tuesday…sigh). I’ll be speaking about Off the Clock, and having a discussion with emotions-at-work expert Mollie West Duffy, at WeWork’s 79 Madison Avenue location at 6 p.m. It is free and open to the public and you can RSVP here. Please come join me!