A Slice of summer moments and a giant unicorn float

Slice of LIfe Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

This summer, I have accidentally overscheduled my kids. They are very busy until August. Our mantra has been to find the summer moments to enjoy.

So, I promised the kids an evening at a nearby State Park. There’s a  nice little beach there, and picnic tables. Find the summer moments to enjoy.

“I’ll pick you up from camp with our picnic packed,” I promised the boys, as they dutifully got ready for camp.

My daughter and I ran some errands. We bought some food, sand toys and a cheap giant unicorn float that, inflated, would never fit in our car. After rushing around to buy supplies, pack a cooler, take the dog out, and shove everything into the car including an electric battery pump for the giant unicorn float,  we were off to get the boys and drive the 20 minutes to the park.

I love the drive to this park, up a mountain, down a mountain, around a windy forest road, sunshine filtering through the trees, kids bickering in the backseat. . . Find the summer moments to enjoy.

Once there we had to find a picnic table, or a spot on the beach. We had the age old debate, swim or eat dinner first? Find the summer moments to enjoy. We decided that we should definitely swim first.

That’s when we realized we had left the bag of bathing suits at home.

As Mr. Thought prepared to go home to get the bathing suits, we prepared to blow up the giant unicorns with our big battery pack.

“It’s going to take us awhile to blow this up anyway, so it’s not too bad to have to wait 45 minutes to get our bathing suits,” we told ourselves, and the kids took the giant unicorn over to a grassy area to inflate. I enjoyed my beach chair, my feet in the sand… Find the summer moments to enjoy.

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And then the kids started walking towards me, heads hung, battery pack to L’s side,

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giant unicorn drooping off H’s shoulder.

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The battery had died, with only the head inflated.

So, we spent the next half an hour blowing up a giant unicorn. We took turns, almost blacked out a few times, but kept going. I was wondering if this summer evening was ruined. “I’m so sorry I forgot the bathing suits and now the battery died!” I kept telling the kids. But they didn’t say anything.

They were wading in the water, finding and taking pictures of salamanders, fish, and even a turtle. They befriended a pair of brothers and dug a trench in the sand. They were busy finding the summer moments to enjoy. 

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So, I sat back and took a deep breath (and blew some more air into the giant unicorn).

Soon enough, Mr. Thought came back, the unicorn was ready to float and everyone had their dinner. The kids swam and floated, and got every blanket and towel full of sand. As the sun set, we forced them out of the water, shook off as much sand as we could, cleaned up our spot, deflated the giant unicorn, shoved things back in the trunk, and hopped back in the car.  I wouldn’t say it was the perfect evening in the park, but we found some summer moments to enjoy. 

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2 thoughts on “A Slice of summer moments and a giant unicorn float

  1. This is a lovely post with a powerful refrain, “Find the summer moments to enjoy.” We are too often over-scheduled, if not in reality, then in the maze of our minds. The third week of July is devoted to NWP’s summer project, “Write Out in the Wild.” Your entry could fit right in. I love that your kids plunged into what was going on around them,”wading in the water, finding and taking pictures of…” They’re naturals. 🌏

  2. Kudos to you and Mr.Thought for persevering in the face of challenges. I bet this will be a summer memory that your kids will always remember. Sometimes, it’s the little life mistakes that make the best memories. I can just hear them saying, “Remember the time Mom forgot our swimsuits and the battery died with just the head inflated?”

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