We’d planned to get out of the house for a few days and finally made it to a day when the weather cooperated and we didn’t have other plans. After errands were ran, dogs walked, and groceries purchased – it was time to spend the rest of the day at a place I frequented as a kid. Luckily this lovely spot is 15 minutes from where we live. It has a little lake and across a tiny strip of land there is the ocean as well. Deception Pass park is the best of both water worlds.
Towels and toys thrown in the back of the car, we were on our way. As we pulled into the entrance, I rolled down the window to purchase our pass. The ranger answered our questions, then asked, “Can you tell me who does your hair? My daughter has naturally curly hair just like that.”
“Oh my gosh!” I hear from the backseat. “Every time!”
I told the ranger that we had recently moved back to the area and with COVID hadn’t had a haircut since we left San Diego, but that good products definitely help and offered her some of my current favorites. We laughed as the kids were imploring us to stop chatting so they could get to the water. I waved and said good luck and rolled up the window.
“MOM! You always chat with random people!” Hannah accused.
Jacob agreed, adding, “Yeah. You are such a chitty chat monster!” Chitty Chat Monster was the affectionate name bestowed to me when starved for adult conversation, their 2nd grade teacher and I would visit a bit after the school day ended. “You call dad ‘Neighbor Ned’, but you are totally Neighbor Nancy!” Hannah agreed emphatically.
“I can’t help it if people chat with me,” I replied, smiling. “Everyone is needing a little more conversation lately because we’ve all been social distancing.” But they are right. I have become my mother and have no problem chatting up friendly people. There are far worse things I could be accused of, I suppose.
Driving through the campgrounds and the wooded area into the parking lot, the beaches were visible. The kids played here when they were 3 and 5 but, of course, do not remember it. Looking for a place to park, I didn’t have to search long as it was certainly not typical summer crowds.
“Beach or lake?” I asked.
“Lake!” They both hollered. We proceeded to unload floats, grabbed the towels and beach toys and made our way over to a picnic area, being mindful of social distancing. Laying out the outdoor blanket, I soon realized that I had laid it on a bunch of duck/seagull poop. Apparently this side of the lake is where they nest. I promptly moved us and our stuff over and the kids were by this point in the water with their floats and flippers.
There were lots of hollers of “MOM! Come take this!” as they wanted to switch out water toys or whatever. I snapped some pictures. They claimed the water was not that cold. (Hannah’s chattering teeth and blue lips, however, told a different story). A mom with two teenage daughters was at a table about 8 feet away looked at me and giggled when, for the 745th time Jake had to change out his face mask so he could help Hannah find her lost flipper at the bottom of the lake. I shook my head knowing what our traveling circus must look and sound like. We lack volume control.
“It doesn’t get any better,” she hollered over. “Mine are 14 and 16 and just got in a fight over gummy worms!” I laughed and her daughters giggled, too. Other families tended to their own circus minions. It was calming and rejuvenating to not only be outside, but to be around other people. (Safely and distanced, of course.) It was a comfortable 66 degrees, sunny and just all around perfect.
I let the kids know that they needed to start wrapping it up – that we would be heading home soon. Gathering belongings and pointing them toward the rinse off showers, they worked it out amongst themselves that one would shower and the other one would hold both towels, then switch. When they returned ready to leave, they looked at me expectantly. I was apparently supposed to carry two giant floats, a bag of sand toys, 3 water bottles, the goggle/snorkle/towel bag and their shoes. I bust out laughing and hollered to them that this stuff would not carry itself to the car, they needed to pitch in. I distinctly heard chuckles from the other families.
Back at our car, we put in our goods as Hannah asked for her water bottle and got situated, exclaiming how fun it was, but that she was glad that car was warm, cause she was FREEZING. She was bouncing around, getting a second towel wrapped around herself (still at top volume) and announced a song request for the trip home. “Did you hear me?!” she hollered.
“Yes. I can hear you Hannah. The whole world can hear you. You are loud,” I chuckled. Looking over there was a mom unloading her car overhearing our ridiculousness. She laughed and said, “My kid is a couple years younger, but we have the same volume control issue!”
“Nice! May the force be with us all,” I offered as I waved a friendly goodbye.
“Seriously mom?! Again?” Jake asked.
“Yes. I chat with other random people because I can.”
Power to the parentals who chitty chat.