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This afternoon, I had a quick photo to grab for an upcoming wedding, an hour away and on the seacoast. On any normal March afternoon, my children would have stayed in the car and suffered through the length of the ride and my ten minutes of shooting, been rewarded with McDonald’s and entertained with my Kindle Fire.

However, in New England this year, we are having the best March ever in the history of the Farch (Farch being the ugly, gray, cold and muddy months of February and March combined.) We are having sunny, 76 degrees with a gentle ocean breeze carrying the scents of grilled meat and the sounds of bike tires racing over sandy streets – March.

And so, I packed a few snacks, grabbed a few extra necessities and decided to treat my kids to a short visit to the beach following my shoot. Short, because being alone with three mobile children (plus one wishes-she-were-mobile baby) and facing a wide open sea that is just begging to lap up my children while I’m busy wrangling their sister, short is just about all that I can handle.

Turns out today, short was more than I could handle. Short started with me unbuckling Asher to find him with a tummy ache and an explosion running down his leg. Short was Evie cramming a fistful of sand into her lips while I had my eyes trained on her siblings, drenching their legs and digging down in the wet sand. Short ended with two Happy Meal toy trucks buried and lost forever, four children in need of baths and a grouchy mother in desperate need of a turbo shot (and a bathroom, which she only realized while sitting in parking lot-like traffic thirty minutes into the ride home.)

The beach, with four kids and no other adult, really? What was I thinking?

But then I got home and pulled up the few pictures I was able to snap and realized, my memories of the day would be wholly different than theirs.

I will remember crouching down beside the car and wiping poop from my sons calves. I will remember the sand that blew over our diaper bag and made the grapes crunchy and gross. I will remember pulling Evie’s sand crusted fist from her mouth and her screeching cries at the injustice of it all. I will remember barking at Asher to get away from the water’s edge and then at Alex to abandon his search for his Happy Meal truck and just get moving to the car.

But what I’m hoping they will remember is far more simple. I am hopeful that they will remember the day in pieces, like most childhood memories. They will remember the sunshine on their faces. They will remember the sand in their toes and the chase of the waves racing toward them as they ran upward toward Evie and I, waving from the distance. And, because they are my children, they will probably remember me, ducking behind the glass of a lens, begging to steal even the imperfect moments in time and seal them away in my heart forever.

Mostly, I want to fill their childhood with so many blissful, sand-in-their-toes, run like there’s no tomorrow and that seagull will never escape your attack, sort of moments that any of my flubs and mess-ups get swept away to the far reaches of their memory shelves.

And, if there are memories of me barking, I apologized on the ride home, so hopefully that will be there too, perhaps in a box labeled, Turns out Mom’s Human, Too.

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