Momming at the Beach: a Mermaid Tail

“Mama! Can I make you a mermaid? Please! Please! Please!” my daughter shouts.

I try to protest, but before a single word can fight it’s way out of my lips, she’s dumping damp sand on my thighs. It’s not even nine in the morning. Sweat is dribbling down my forehead and into my eyes, catching sunscreen along the way. Behind my oversized sunglasses, my eyeballs are on fire. I have no way to relieve them, because everything is covered in sand.

I lean over to grab my magazine, but who am I kidding? I’m a mom at the beach. No time for reading. My husband is half watching the kids, half playing Corn hole. I toss the latest HGTV mag back in my beach bag, overflowing with swim diapers and neon-colored plastic sand toys.

Instead, I take a sip of my mimosa. I swallow, praying for the chill of the champagne to mellow me out, but at the end there’s a mouthful of grit. Sand in my drink!

“All done, Mommy!” my daughter exclaims. “You’re such a pretty mermaid!”

I’m buried up to my waist. Wet sand is in places it has no business being. I’m sweaty and thirsty. And I definitely don’t feel pretty.

“Smile, Hun!” my husband shouts. He suddenly has his phone out. I don’t have time to stop him, only time to suck in my gut before the click. “That’s going on Facebook,” he laughs.

“Please don’t,” I say.

Photo courtesy of

30 thoughts on “Momming at the Beach: a Mermaid Tail

  1. I want to see the picture too! Hehe what a darling little piece you wrote here. Hehe tiny criticism, when talking about the mimosa, you wrote “champagne mellow” but I think you meant to have a “to” between the words. Otherwise I loved this fun little piece!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love all the relatable details and small irritations you’ve pulled together. And oh – the sand in the places the sand goes (if you ever swim in the Great Salt Lake you can get brine shrimp as well as sand… it’s an extra special next-level horror when you peel your suit off). The one complaint I have is that the essay didn’t really go anywhere – that is, it seemed like the last line was trying to do the job that maybe a few paragraphs of contrast of what you imagined the beach would be like, or pictures on postcards of abandoned beaches, or… something… would have done to show that contrast. So that line ended up carrying a lot of weight that it isn’t quite strong enough to bear, to support a conclusion that you’d already almost led the reader to. I was trying to think how I might edit this if I wanted to leave it as untouched as possible, and even moving the line to the beginning of the piece to plant the seed in the reader’s mind and then letting the reader reach agreement with you through a series of small and sandy irritations up until we, too, cringe at the Facebook photo? It would be an effective hook, where it’s a less effective conclusion. (I just want to see you play with hooks and conclusions more overall though – your conclusions generally have the punch of a hook and your hooks have the lighter hand of a conclusion, IMO)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG, I can’t imagine what that would look like…or feel like (I’m talking about the brine shrimp here). Thank you for your comment. That makes total sense. I need to lead my readers to the water, but not force them to drink it kind of thing. I have to say I really love when you and the other editors comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I meant no sarcasm, honestly. Your baby is a happy baby. Actually, I laughed a lot about your drink and this was where I wanted kids for myself. Have a happy life with your little-selves!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Maybe it’s because I don’t have kids, but the part where you’re trapped in the sand by your little darling stood out way more to me than how adorable the finished product may have been. I think you communicated a caged suffocation that I wanted to see more of, more of that side of parenting, of juggling the PERSON vs. the MOM. It’s super fascinating. Your sentences are getting stronger, too. More assertive, less equivocating or apologetic. Good job, D!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The details in this piece were so evocative. The dripping sweat carrying sunscreen into the eyes, the gritty crunch of sand in your drink, your resignation to not reading your magazine — they really made the piece so very relatable. I found the first sentence a little abrupt, and had to double check whether I was reading fiction or nonfiction (because “Mama! Can I make you a mermaid?” could also be a great fic|po opening sentence!), and the last line felt a little like you weren’t sure how to wrap the piece up. You have a wonderfully dry sense of humour and it was so clear in this piece. I want to hear more of this voice.

    Liked by 1 person

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