It was late afternoon and the weather was as perfect as it could get for Florida in mid-July. I sat in the lounge chair beside the condo pool and reflected on how blessed I felt to have made such sweet friends over the course of the past year and how sweet they were to include our family on their annual beach trip. I watched as all the kids played sweetly with one another in the pool. With 90’s music playing, the dad’s tossed the football as the mom’s looked on, playfully critiquing their ability—everyone reminiscing over the high school-esque tunes. It was truly a great afternoon.
As the sun began to set and little tummies got hungry, we decided on a poolside dinner—not wanting the evening to end. The parents took the liberty to enjoy the food and conversation while the kids scarfed their food down to hurry up and get back to playing in the pool. I felt ridiculous for having berated the kids the way I did just a few short days prior to the trip—fearful that we’d make a bad impression.
“We have to be on our best behavior when we go to the beach. Play whatever the other children want to play. Be kind to everyone. Use your best manners and talk to the adults when you are spoken to. Boys, don’t walk around without your clothes on. Please don’t forget to close the bathroom door when you are using it. No burping. And most importantly, “toots” are done in private and are not for showing off.” My worries were numerous. Much to my delight, the families meshed effortlessly and even my crew was doing really well—if I did say so myself.
As parents enjoyed the libations and the kids enjoyed the pool (that slowly became crowded as families strolled in from a long day at the beach) I delighted in the moment—until I felt a little tap from my 3-year-old son, on my shoulder.
“Mommy, I need a napkin,” he said nervously.
“Napkin? Why do you need a napkin?” I asked, only semi-aware.
“I need a napkin!” he began to cry. He grabbed my hand and started pulling me over to the pool as all of our friends looked on. When I got to the edge of the pool and looked down at what he was pointing to—the harsh reality of the situation set it. THERE WAS POOP IN THE POOL. AND THE POOP WAS OURS.
“Oh William! What did you do?” I felt tears begin welling up in my eyes. As Mr. Right walked over and became privy to the predicament he whispered, “Take him to the potty. I’ll deal with this.” I briskly walked passed our friends—some confused, some all too aware.
We walked into a stall. I wanted to cry. I wanted to spank William for what he’d done. I wanted to go back to 10-minutes ago when all was well. Instead, I cleaned William up and tried to regroup. I felt a tug on my hand as I stared into the mirror while washing my hands.
“I’m sorry, Mommy. I didn’t mean to,” said William flashing puppy eyes.
“What happened? You’ve never done this before.”
“I just didn’t want to stop playing. It just floated out like a little boat. Are you mad at me?” he asked looking embarrassed and sad.
“I’m not mad. I know it was an accident, but it was a big mistake.” I said, trying to console yet scold him.
“What will our new friends think of us now?” I asked myself.
As William and I quickly exited the once vivacious outdoor area, the pool was being evacuated and treated.
Christian valiantly retrieved the “little boat,” as only a wonderful daddy would, and we retreated to our room in the condo. I thought, “How could we ever rebound from that. It was nice having friends while it lasted.”
That night (as clean kids slept tight), to my appreciation, our friends embraced us despite what happened. We
laughed, we played games and the little boat incident became a hysterical anecdote from an unforgettable family vacation, with fabulous friends—who (as one of the wives reminded me) love all the good and the bad. After all, who out of us is so perfect that you never have the need for a napkin?