Low tide

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The car temperature gauge read minus one and the fields were enveloped in frost when I drove the children to the station this morning. There was barely any wind so, instead of our usual stomp across the fields and clifftop after the station run, I took the dog down to the beach. It was low tide and the sea seemed much farther out than usual. Cassie leapt about on the pebbles, enthusiastically jumping into patches of seaweed and snuffling through them searching for the really stinky bits. We were the only two on the beach and it was blissfully quiet, just the sound of the rippled wavelets gently breaking on the seaweed-covered rocks and the occasional cry of a gull overhead. I walked as far out as I could and stood with my back to the sea looking up at the shore. It was a serene moment.

Fast-forward to just after 4pm: the children burst through the door after school, dropped their bags, threw off their shoes and coats and crowded into the kitchen around the snack drawer. (Yes. We have a drawer containing foods that would not please the healthy eating police. There is a jar of chai seeds in there to salve my conscience.) There was a lot of pushing and shoving: my younger son asked if anyone wanted the last fruit bun; my eldest son grabbed the last giant cookie without asking anyone; my daughter calmly got on with making herself a sandwich. Seconds later we were all shouting at each other (mostly at my eldest). I may have even uttered a swear word or two. How does that happen?! One minute I was pleased to see them, asking after their day, the next I’m standing in the kitchen shouting like a deranged fishwife. Such are the joys of teenagers mixed with a menopausal mother. Really, we should be kept apart like they do with tricksy animals in the zoo; in one big enclosure but with doors to drop down and keep us apart if it all gets a bit feisty. I’d quite like that.

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32 thoughts on “Low tide

  1. Oh the many joys of family life! That is indeed how it is sometimes. Fortunately not all the time. But it’s good to tell it how it is, keep it real.
    I used to find a nice soak in the bath, and a cup of tea well away from them all, did the trick.
    Now they’ve left home I’m just glad to see them as often as I do.

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  2. I often feel that my work is done when I have both children in their rooms as punishment. 🙂 A banner day, it is then. I love your photos. I wonder if you have the same smell at low tide that we often have on beaches here. It’s unpleasant and interesting all at the same time.

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    1. I haven’t noticed a smell that’s particular to low tide. There’s a more seaweed-y smell sometimes but usually there’s a salty wind and that fresh sea smell on the beach all the time.

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  3. Oh my gosh, I remember that phenomenon so well! Things can go to hell in a handbasket quicker than you can blink your eyes. Right now I’d give anything to have our three coming home and tossing their stuff everywhere like they used to after school…but I know if it really happened I’d be cranky with them five minutes later.

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  4. Oh Sam, this made me laugh. I always used to have the kettle on and have something ready to eat as soon as mine came home from school. When things got tense I used to shut myself away and watch ‘Flog it!’. I think I need a holiday by the sea, how lucky are you and Cassie to have the beach to yourselves.

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  5. Lovely beachy photos.
    Close your eyes for a fleeting moment and those awful, after -school moments are gone for ever. Then bizarrely, you miss them. I know I do. And mine have been grown up for ages now.

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    1. I’m sure I’ll remember it all with great fondness. I do try to make the most of it all but sometimes our out-of-sorts-ness coincides and it’s hard to remain serene!

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  6. Oh what an accurate portrayal of family life! Ours always kicked off at supper time (not sure that eating together is always for the best with teenagers) and one or more of the children would flounce off in a huff leaving their food half eaten. One day I got so cross with them all that I banged the bread board on the table to silence them and the bread board broke in half.
    Dramatic beach scenes – lucky you to have it all to yourself.

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    1. Maybe it’s a feeding-time link back to our animal selves! We’ve had a few flouncing-off dinners. Has your bread board incident gone down in family history?

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  7. You are teaching them conflict resolution and reconciliation – both important lessons for young adults – so you should congratulate yourself and award yourself time in the garden before supper.

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  8. Oh thank god, it’s not just me. Honestly, I pick them up from school, haven’t seen them all day, and within 30 seconds we’re all cross with each other. Looks like a lovely day in between though! I’m wishing you a lovely weekend. CJ xx

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    1. I try not to write about our shortcomings too much (it’d get boring) but yesterday the contrasts in my day were extreme. Deep breaths. It’s the weekend. Hope you have a very good one CJ.

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  9. my teenagers are at their most taxing when they are hungry……. and we have a snack box not a drawer, but it’s the same idea. in fact we have two now, the normal one for the teen boy and the gluten free one for the teen girl, and there is practically bloodshed when the teen boy wants something from the gluten free box………..

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  10. I would love to have joined you for those serene moments on the beach, it looks so beautiful and peaceful. Your children sound quite polite with the snack drawer, if there was only one item left each of mine would have wanted it and they would fight to get it! I’m glad those days are gone! Sarah x

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