We Forced Our Teens to Hang Out With Us


I’ve got myself some pretty nice kids.  They both have a strong work ethic and have had jobs since the age of 14.  They work at the same market a few miles from our home and are fortunate to be getting plenty of working hours to fill their summer days.

It is nice not to have two sleepy, cranky teens hanging around the house all day long, eating everything in sight, watching endless episodes of Honey Boo Boo and telling me how bored they are.  Phew!

Last Friday, I warned informed them that since neither of them had to work that Sunday, we were going to spend the day together as a happy little family and go to the beach.  How awesome does that sound?  

Well, they both chose not to tell me what they really thought of my great idea (smart kids) and gave me a fake (do we have to go anywhere with you and dad) smile.  I reminded them that since one of them is already in college and the other a senior in high school, our vacationing-together days were limited and that we had to take advantage of the time we had now.

Besides, it was the perfect time for me to debut my new shiny blue skirted bathing suit I so agonized over.  I was going to wear that darn thing if it killed me (which it almost did).

Sunday morning came around and we woke the kids up early (just what they want their parents to do on a summer day off).  I packed up lunches for the four of us.  The bread was a bit stale but I figured the peanut butter would mask the staleness and they wouldn’t notice.



We packed the car like we were going to be away for months, in a remote location with no running water or electricity.  We had to make sure to pack our beach umbrella, 4 beach chairs, paddle ball racquets, a cooler, towels, a beach blanket and about 500 different sun tan lotions which had probably all expired.

We were on the road by 8:15 am which is quite an accomplishment considering we had two cranky teens with us and that my aching stiff body normally does not start functioning until noon.

We were not 100 feet from our home (basically still in the driveway) and the kids were already plugged in.  Out of commission.  Unreachable.  Gone Fishing.  One listening to her favorite country tunes and the other, his alternative screaming, guitar smashing and cursing, noise.  It was clear that we were not to have any kind of family conversation or chit-chat during our two-hour trip.

Lucky for my husband, I turned to him and began chatting away.  If he owned an Ipod, he would have been plugged in before leaving the house so he wouldn’t have had to listen to my array of fun facts I like to enlighten my family with, on trips.  I often read to them from brochures about the places we are about to visit and they…so love to listen.

 Two hours later we had reached our destination.  A beach we had never visited but highly recommended by my sister-in-law.  It was one of those horrendous muggy, sticky, mad hot days and we could not wait to freshen up in the water.

For the love of God.  The entire State was there.  At that beach.  We dragged all our beach paraphernalia through the burning hot sand looking for an empty spot.  A gap between the thousands of people already settled in their blankets and chairs sweating away, was all we needed.  After searching for what seemed like 55 hours, we found a little spot.  Not the prime real estate needed to house all our stuff, but we took it anyway.

After getting some dirty looks from our very close-to-us, sand  neighbors, we settled in.  Ahhhh….finally relaxing at the beach.    My daughter decided to lay down on the blanket but could not get comfortable.  My son was mortified when he noticed that her foot was resting on someone else’s blanket and told her to move.  But there was no place to go.  She returned to her chair in a…not so happy mood.  

We have never been in a beach this crowded.  We often vacation on Cape Cod and have plenty of room to spread out.  It was crazy.  We could hear all the intimate conversations of those around us, could actually read their books right along with them and check their incoming texts on their phones.

We decided to go in the water to cool off.  My cover-up hiding my new skirted suit stayed with me while I waded in the refreshing water.  I got stage fright and could not take it off.  I know I would have blended right in among the massive crowd and that I should be over this skirted suit issue, but I kept the damn cover-up on the whole time.

My kids tried to play paddle ball, but it was an impossible feat being that they had zero elbow room.

After a couple of hours, being drenched with sweat and feeling claustrophobic (and the fact that my kids were hungry because the stale bread didn’t cut it), we decided to head home.

But the day was saved.  We stopped at a famous Clam Shack on our way home and had the most delicious fried clams, fries and onion rings we have had in a long time!  YUM!  

After some very fully satisfied bellies, an air-conditioned car and the fact that we were headed home, everyone seemed happy.  There was a lot of chatter on the way home and we even got a Thank You from the kids for taking them on this day trip!  

It’s amazing what eating good food, will do.   


24 thoughts on “We Forced Our Teens to Hang Out With Us

  1. Great post. Sounds like you live in Mass. I’m from Mass. I think I miss fried clams (with the bellies) most of all. I’m so envious!!! Living in Southern Californina now, far, far away from clams!!! Love reading your posts. We have a lot in common.


  2. The best thing about these miserable family excursions is, after enough years have passed, your kids’ memories will have sugar-coated the whole experience into a magical, wonderful, kids-today-don’t-know-what-they’re-missing kind of day.


  3. I miss the beach.
    And now when your kids have kids, they’ll have no problem taking them to the beach just for fun thanks to this example!

    (A good meal really does make the day better!)


  4. Have you looked around at the beach? It is a sure way to make you feel super good about the way you look covered up! I love your writing style and always look forward to your blogs


    1. There were a lot of “interesting” people there who did not care what they looked like, but I still couldn’t do it. 🙂 Thanks so much for the compliment, Pam. I really appreciate it.


  5. Oh, I was waiting for the oohs and aahs on your suit. I’m sorry you couldn’t remove your cover-up, but given how crowded everything was, I probably would’ve had stage fright, too.

    I don’t know if you read Calvin & Hobbes, but there was one where they took Calvin to the beach. It sounds eerily similar to your trip.

    And, I love fried clams. Not something I find much down this way, but every time I come to New England, I try to find them.


    1. My son loves Calvin & Hobbes! That’s funny. That suit of mine is going to have to stay in its drawer for the time being! Fried clams are soooo delicious! They were sweet and crunchy – just the way I like them! Anytime you are in New England, let me know and we’ll go fried clam eatin’! 🙂


  6. Well done Mom! We ‘force’ our kids to hang out with us too! They give us dirty looks too sometimes and then the one ‘plugs in’ to mommy’s cell phone for some games. And like you said the day gets saved as we stop at this one place that allows people to bring their dogs. …and then they nap on the way home. Now Ms. 50ish, I do hope you are bringing your new suit to New Jersey with us! Its time to show it off! 😉


      1. Ms. House, its BYOB. did you see the video at the bottom of the page? the Skirted suit is optional…what ever you are comfortable in. ..the BYOB will help with that too. 🙂


  7. “I got stage fright and could not take it off.” Oh Maria, you’re such a humorous storyteller. I felt as though I was there with you and your family, fighting for a tiny bit of real estate on the packed beach. I’ve been to beaches like that before and it’s misery. I’m glad you had a nice dinner to make up for everything. So, are you going to pack away the bathing suit until next year? 🙂


    1. Oh, Jill! That bathing suit will probably not see the light of day ever again. I couldn’t do it. I really looked too much like a grandma and I’m struggling with turning 50 and don’t need another reason to feel old! Maybe I’ll just get a string bikini and let it all hang out. 🙂


  8. When were you there? We just spent some time on the Cape from June 26 to 29. We try to go there as a family at least once a year, it’s our fave spot. We’re only 3.5 hours away, so…

    For the first time in 20 years, the weather was not terrific, and we’re thinking about going back in September for a long weekend. You can get some great sunny days then.


    1. Hi Joe! We were there the first week in June – we usually go to Orleans (my brother-in-law owns a house there) but the weather was not good for us either! There’s been so much rain. We are going back late August and hope the weather cooperates! I love the Cape. Last Sunday we ended up at a beach in the North Shore we had never been to and probably won’t return to. Nothing like the Cape! I hope you get good weather in September – that is usually a great time to go and the weather is usually perfect!


      1. Great spot. When my wife and I were dating in the early 90’s, we would go to the Orleans Inn and had wonderful times there. We’ve stayed all over the Cape, but now prefer South Yarmouth. We stay at an oceanfront hotel with a gorgeous beach. Nothing like it. 🙂


  9. I just LOVED reading this as I stood on the platform waiting for my train, giggling all the time while looking at my phone. Can relate to sooo much of this! 🙂


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