Never go to the beach with a 2-year-old!
These were the words ringing in my ears last week as my wife and I approached Virginia Beach with a screaming 2-year-old and 4-month-old in the backseat. This would mark the first vacation we have been on as a family of four. We were excited but nervous.
Before we left, we asked a lot of our friends for advice and got some great feedback such as:
- Take plenty of snacks and water
- Take enough toys to keep the kids occupied
- Bring lots of patience with you
But the most interesting piece of advice I got was to “just not go.” That piece of advice, while well-intentioned and mostly humorous, really dug into me and created a lot of hesitation.
How will my little girl respond? Will the sand agitate her and put her to in a bad mood? Will she even like the water? Will she get knocked down by the waves and want to run all the way back to the hotel?
This was my posture as we held hands and walked toward the water for the very first time...And boy did she love it! Throughout the whole week of vacation, she was happiest when she was in the water getting knocked all around by the waves and sand going everywhere, on the extreme limit, of what her 2-year-old self could handle!
My wife and I were surprised, to say the least, but happy that this was going to be a joyful vacation and not one filled with stress and meltdowns. Playing in the waves became one of the highlights of our year. We were expecting the worst, but instead received the best. I realize now that I should have had an expectation for happiness and joy and not the opposite.
We read in scripture: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13
This should have been my posture all along. Who knows? The next time we go to the beach she might hate everything about it. But for me? I am going to start from a place of expecting the joy.