We’re on vacation right now. Specifically, my family is on vacation and I am supervising my family’s vacation. As a wife and mother I feel as if I am rarely on “vacation” — I am still a mother to my children, I still make our meals, I still organize the outings and outfits for the baby, and so forth. I am still “on the job” but in a different location. Of course, I am fortunate to have an amazing husband who helps a great deal; however, I am a very hands-on mom. I can’t seem to not be involved. And none of this is complaining. I love to be Mama. Even though I know I will get home from this vacation just as exhausted as I was when we left for it, I will have loved every single moment of it.
And yet, because I am caught up in the meal planning, the packing, the to-do lists and last minute shopping for sunscreen, it is hard for me to be completely in the present. Just today, I caught myself thinking of what we would eat for dinner tonight when it was only breakfast this morning. I hurried my family out the door for the beach when they only had three minutes left of a show to watch. I still don’t know why I did that. It might have been because the baby was taking the diapers out of her bag — I can’t remember now. I do know that three minutes is not that long to just finish a show. The truth is, I don’t even care about schedules or itineraries. Yet for some reason, I did care today.
Suddenly, getting to my hometown beach didn’t matter as much anymore. I felt guilty the entire elevator ride to the car. We took the long way to the sand, which is always the best way anyway. We drove through our hometowns, my husband and I, and showed our son where we grew up. My house, which is now a horrible monstrosity representing the tear-down real estate boom of the California market, and the streets of my neighborhood where my husband and I would walk together. We showed him his great-grandmother’s homes which have stayed exactly the same! including the lemon tree his father would climb for lemons just so his grandma would bake him lemon pie. We even showed our son his father’s home and our son wondered why I ever gave his dad the time of day. (He came from that side of the river.) We even showed him a ridiculous old hotel that still stands. It’s only excitement is that Elvis stayed there once. My son, pointedly, remarked that if it was so great than Elvis would have stayed there more than once.
The baby slept through this whole drive, unimpressed.
We finally made it to my hometown beach. Strangely it was still there whether we had hurried or not. That’s what I like about the beach. It will always be there waiting for you no matter how you approach it. We found ourselves a perfect spot and spent ourselves a day. No real plans, no real goals, just playing in the sand.
I was home. And perhaps that drove my urgency earlier. I wanted to feel warmth in my roots again. I need to feel the connection once more. I could hear it in the ocean today — the humming the water makes as the waves meets the shore. It matches the humming in my veins. Rhythmic pulls. No longer was I the mother taking care of my family’s needs, my Ocean Mother was taking care of me. She was stroking my hair, patting my cheeks, and welcoming me home. I brought her my new baby to bless and as any grandmother would, my Ocean Mother kissed the baby and let the child play at her knee.
I felt this all today when I allowed myself to not worry about a forgotten crockpot. I was able to watch my kids play and forget about my messy beach hair and not worry if the SPF sunscreen was right on the baby. I stopped caring about not wearing make up today and not losing my baby weight yet. This was the moment that mattered. This one.
I loved today. And I’ll love tomorrow, too.
Prompted by: ”Wherever you are right now… pause… and give yourself five minutes. Sit quietly for a moment and be in that exact moment.” by Susannah Conway for A Year With Myself