Labor Day began as one of the most uncomfortable situations in my entire mothering life. Eric and I planned with some friends to go rafting/canoeing down the Wisconsin River. They found a fun beach with these sandbar "islands" close enough to wade to, and we set our GPS's to "Go!" When we got there, however, we found the trail to the beach closed: we would have to walk over a mile to get there. So Eric and the others went upriver to put in the boats. I said that I would walk with my kids down to the beach and meet everyone there, once they'd paddled down.
The walk took 45 minutes, mainly because I was carrying between 1–3 kids on my shoulders/back/hips the entire time! They were exhausted, and so was I. So when we saw the sand we were ecstatic. The two older boys ran ahead, but then turned. "MOM!" Jacob shouted. "Why doesn't anyone here have any clothes on?" Oh my. Oh no! Oh yes, it was. It was that kind of beach. There were about 100 people there, all without a stitch on.
I couldn't walk back--it had been too difficult getting there. Even if we had turned around, no one would be there to pick us up--Eric was boating down the river. So I guided the kids along the side of the beach, hushing their "whys" and keeping their eyes toward the river. We stood in the middle of the river for another 45 minutes until Eric finally came--it had taken him much longer to get there than either of us had imagined initially! The irony of as modest a person as I in such an immodest place shook me to the core--as soon as I saw Eric I bawled for relief!
I didn't take any pictures on the beach (!), but I had to document us escaping the crazies:
We made lunch over the fire and explored with our friends. The swimming was warm,
and the boating was great (we have two rafts--this is the "baby" one that the kids love).
Eric: "Michael, you're getting to be quite the fisherman."
Michael: "No, I'm not a fisherman 'cause I didn't catch any fish."
Eric: "Sometimes it takes all day to catch a fish. You're still a fisherman because you're fishing."
But then he caught one! I couldn't believe it--we had just taught him to cast that day, and he was doing it all on his own.
Michael, explaining how heavy the tug had felt on the line: "I thought it was a shark!"
It wasn't a shark, thankfully, but it made a fine lunch later.
Soon after the triumphant catch, it was time to go home.
Amy, in the van to Eric: "This day was like life, wasn't it? Unexpected and strange things, but such good times that it's overall very, very good."