The Shade Structure Incident

So last weekend we joined some friends for beach time and it was awesome. Mike and I decided that we would make that a regular weekend thing and that we would become a beach family for the summer. I read a lot of articles about how important it is for kids to have free outdoor playtime and they’re always talking about exploring forests or climbing trees or studying frogs or whatever. We don’t really have that kind of thing super-accessible. By which I mean I don’t want to go hang out in forests.

We have beach super-accessible. And I love the beach. And there’s a decent amount of cool stuff on the beach for a kid to explore like dead sand crabs, rocks, shells, seaweed, fit co-eds playing various games, dogs, sand, water, birds. You get the picture. It’s a fine option.

One thing we noticed was that the advanced beach families had super-sized umbrellas, tents, or even larger shade structures that could shade the whole family. The second we got home Mike had selected and ordered a shade structure online. It was due to arrive just in time for the following weekend excursion.

But when it came it was not what I expected. It was oddly shaped and seemed challenging, if not impossible, to put up. I expressed my reservations to Mike as he initiated the test-run at home.

I think what I said was something like, “Honey why can’t we just have a normal shade structure? Why does it always have to be some new-fangled ridiculous thing?” Mike was not pleased. “This is a great shade structure,” he grumbled, while continuing to wrestle the shade beast.

“Harumpf!” I said, and went back inside the house. I couldn’t watch. It seemed doomed to failure. But he persisted. A little later he came inside. “Did you get it up?” I asked. “Of course,” he said, and padded around the kitchen making himself a cold drink. I could tell that I’d hurt his feelings by mocking the shade structure. “I’m sorry,” I said. And I really was. “Thank you for getting us a shade structure.”

Yesterday we beached it hard with friends for several hours with our unconventional shade structure proudly marking camp. The children played, the parents schmoozed, and twenty-four peanut butter and jelly sliders were consumed. Mike forgave me for my lack of faith and I forgave him for pushing my edge, again. We got our gratitude on. It was an amazing day.