It wasn't the most auspicious start. As we pulled away from Kate's Vacation Bible School, I told her to get her swimsuit on while we drove to the lake. Less than a quarter mile down the road, Kate was screaming, Anna was trying to console her and Bekah and her friend were saying, "Turn off the music! Pull over!" So I pulled over. I helped Kate disentangle herself from her swimsuit and get it on properly. (What was I thinking, anyway? That a six year old could put her swim suit on while buckled into the back seat? Obviously not.) In just a few minutes, everyone was calm - and dressed for the lake.
Then, about a half mile down the road, Bekah's friend says, "Miss Shannon? I sort of need to go to the bathroom." Another stop. And then we are on our way (again). About a half hour later, we pulled up at the lake to find that Bekah lost a shoe on our bathroom stop. Actually, we weren't entirely sure what happened to the shoe, but that was the only semi-rational explanation. After a bit of tearful angst over the lost flip flop, Bekah agreed to walk down to the lake without her shoes.
In spite of this up and down start, our lake visit was a great one. Friends new and old joined us. Some came early, some stayed late. All had a great time.
We arrived at lunch time, but there was little discussion as to whether we should start with the water or the food. After I applied sunscreen, they headed right into the lake, bringing floaties, kick boards and goggles along with them. And there they stayed. And stayed. And stayed. I chatted with friends, cooled off in the water and felt like I was enjoying myself as much as my girls were.
The girls did agree to leave the water long enough to throw some food down their throats, but food clearly took a backseat to swimming today.
One friend who joined us had invited some other women who I knew, but not well. I enjoyed getting to know them and heard some encouraging words about my plans to homeschool Anna next year, while getting to know a few more parents of Kate's classmates. While Kate is our youngest child, many of the children in her class are only children or the eldest in their families, so many of the parents know each other, but not me. I was grateful for a low-key opportunity to forge a few connections.
And I was equally thankful to see old friends. One friend was the clear winner of the early bird prize, having arrived at 9:45 that morning with her two young boys. She was on the playfound when we got there, but joined us in the water and snacked with us before heading out for nap time. Another friend who wasn't able to come to the lake last year made it today and it was a pleasure to get time with her while her son played with Kate in the sand and the water.
It was a great day. We stayed until 4, a full hour later than I had intended and found ourselves tired, a bit sunburned (oops!) and fulfilled. I can't wait to do it again.