The Promised Land

Legend has it that it can be done in just three minutes.

I've never actually seen this done, but apparently there are lots of witnesses. There are ordinary people just like you and me walking around who have lived up to the challenge.

Sadly, I am not one of them.

This week for spring break, we took our first ever Webber only vacation with our kids. Because my husband had accumulated so many hotel points due to lots of business travel, we were able to stay at the Embassy Suites totally free. Can't beat that, especially when you throw in the free breakfast and evening snacks which the kids pretty much think is heaven on earth.

Anyway, I overheard the hotel employee at the front desk refer to the impossible challenge I am speaking of to someone on the phone.

At first it made me feel very relieved. Very calm and confident that it would be no problem.

A piece of cake.

I am referring, of course, to the short trek from our room at the Embassy Hotel to the beautiful sandy beaches located just across the street.

I now have a deeper understanding and appreciation for the life and trials of one of the most famous characters in the Old Testament. I feel we have bonded. I have now walked in his sandals at least a little bit.

I will never watch Charleton Heston the same way ever again in his famous role as Moses.

I felt rather like Moses leading the Israelites through the desert for forty long years.

You see, when you are a parent of young children, getting to the beach is simply never as easy as it sounds. I remember vaguely the days when I could just put on my bathing suit, grab a towel, some sunscreen, and a good book, and I was on my way. I could be settled on the beach in mere minutes.

Pool? Same story. And I remember with some embarrassment that I used to kind of huff at the inconvenience of having to drag along my big old walkman and headphones. So cumbersome! A girl's only got two hands, after all!

I would like to present Exhibit A:

In case you can't tell, that's me.

This picture was taken during one of our treks across the street to the Promised Land, a.k.a. Destin beach. I am loaded down with:

*a boogie board (which I will not use at all)
*beach toys (which I will not use at all)
*snacks and juice boxes (which I will not eat or drink)
*snorkel gear and flippers (which I will not use at all)
*3 large beach towels (I will use 1 of these)
*a beach chair (which I will not use nearly as long as I'd like)
*a large umbrella (which I will labor to put up but will not actually sit under because the sand fleas my children will catch and keep in a bucket will need the shade in order to live. I would certainly overcrowd the limited shaded area.)
*a life jacket (which I certainly hope I will not use as it is a size 4T)

Each time we made the little pilgrimage, I felt more and more like I should raise my umbrella and see if the road before me would part, clearing a direct line to our destination and safety from the traffic in hot pursuit and gaining on us every moment.

The children behind me were weary, hot, hungry, and disgruntled.

"How long will we have to walk?"

"Why did you make us leave the pool at the hotel to come out to this hot, desolate land?"

"We were better off in the hotel room!"

I am pretty sure I even saw a golden calf somewhere along the way. Or maybe that was just the shiny, glistening bikini bodies dazzling those around them in the bright sun. I'm not sure.

And so, readers, you can understand why, when I overheard the employee telling someone on the phone about the easy, 3 minute walk to the beach, I really had to curb my impulse to grab the phone from her hand, yank it across the counter to where I was standing, and scream into the phone that they could quadruple that number if they had kids. Easily. Add five minutes for each child under ten years old. I wanted to tell them that this was like saying someone could cross the Sahara in thirty minutes or get your kids in bed for the night in three minutes flat.

Lies! Propaganda! All of it.

Of course, being the godly Moses type, I just prayed for my dear children as we wandered in the heat towards the Promised Land.

I'm hoping you won't remember that Moses prayed for God to smite these whining, ungrateful children of His. I prayed that they would someday be mothers and see how it feels to carry 150 pounds of crap to the beach while their little followers complain behind them shouting comments like,

"These goggles are too heavy to carry"

"Can you hold all 12,000 of my buckets and shovels? I'm trying to carry my airbrushed t-shirt."

But just like the Israelites, eventually, finally, we made it to our Promised Land. The land of gleaming, sugary white beaches and clear waters. We eventually forgot the difficult journey and all was well. Of course, there were no gigantic fruit trees and it was definitely NOT flowing with milk and honey, so...

"Mom, could you go back and get us some fruit? We'll wait right here."


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