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The Schlep by Noreen Heffernan

Do you always feeling like you are schlepping somewhere? A bag on your arm, a puddle jumper under your arm pit, a chair hanging from your shoulder, and somehow you have to also hold the hands of your children as you cross the street and THEN you have to hold their pail because it is TOO HEAVY? What? And God forbid you don’t have the right amount of snacks in that full bag of gear?!!!

You know those golf cart looking things that people, (and by people, I mean parents) bring to the beach. For some reason, I was always so against them; like it was giving up. Let me roll myself onto the beach for some fun. You see them pushing these large contraptions onto the beach with all the gear hanging from every crevice of the cart. I always thought, why do they need so much stuff? Simplicity people!!!! Then, I became a parent. I don’t have one, but now I look at them longingly as I schlep all the STUFF. We truly need all that STUFF!

I know it isn’t just me. I know these things happen to everyone. I know it. I see it. I see the numerous bathroom breaks, the eye-rolls by the Moms, the snack begging, and the sunscreen fights at the pool/beach. I see it all. We all have to deal with these things. It is our certificate for summer parenting.

But the truth is this; life as a parent always consists of a lot of schlepping. Schlepping, packing up and rubbing. Like, are we always rubbing sunscreen on our kids? Is there an invention we can create to make this easier? Now we can’t even use the spray, god dang it. Inhaling chemicals from the spray sunscreen?? Did you see that article? You must have seen it. It went viral. Who said that; a person laughing behind their computer screen and watching all of us chase our kids around with white goop on our hands? He is laughing that evil laugh from the corner of the pool area, reading an article about the biggest myths in America and using his binoculars to watch us suffer, close up. Chemicals my butt! I mean, I won’t do it, but I’m not happy about it. Not happy at all. Well, I mean, now I spray it on my hand and rub. Hope that is ok.

So here we are, schlepping, rubbing, and feeding. Do your kids always want every single snack at the pool/beach? They won’t play; they will just sit at your feet and beg for snacks. And it is never good enough. You didn’t bring pretzels? How could you?! Do you ever just want to be like, “GO PLAY!!!!!?” Enough with the snacks and the tubes and the pool toys. Go swallow water or float on your back. Isn’t that what we did as kids?

But you know what, when you finally get there and put the bag down and open your chair, it is all worth it. And then sometimes they will surprise you and they will go play. They will play for 2 hours straight and you will put your face in the sun and soak it up. You will talk to your friends and watch them play and splash. And you know what; we earned it; because we do so much. We deserve to bask in the sun amidst all the paraphernalia. We deserve the easy moments too. Those are the moments you can take a minute and truly appreciate everything that you have and everything that you do. Those snippets of relaxation make it all worth it.

It’s life.

It isn’t always easy. It rarely is. But, we get through the hard things so that we may enjoy the trouble-free, undemanding, laid-back things. We all have to carry our baggage through the airport, but sometimes we land in paradise. There are those who have to commute hot and sweaty to work but get to buy themselves something that have always wanted from the sacrifice. Some of us have to carry along a big pregnant belly so that we may get to hold a piece of heaven. Our baggage gets us our stillness. Our schlepping brings us to peace. Our rubbing allows our children to safely splash in the sun. Our work allows us to enjoy some rewards.

Maybe it is a free 2 hours. Maybe it is a snuggle at the pool. Perhaps it is the biggest smile you have ever seen as they lick an ice pop. Maybe your daughter will sing you to sleep after a long day in the sun.

Whatever your reward is, enjoy it. Bask it in. You’ve earned it.

It isn’t always easy. But, it will ALWAYS be worthwhile.

~Noreen Heffernan,Writer, MA in Public and Corporate Communications, Certified in PR Writer, Growing Ladies


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