From time to time I think it’s important to reflect on what it’s like being a working mom. Between listing appointments, open houses, and meetings every week it can be hard for me to balance it all. When I get overwhelmed, I like to take a trip to the beach.
What makes the ocean so therapeutic? It’s hard to know really, I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that way when they are in the presence of God’s masterpiece, the ocean. I’ve missed that therapy a lot over the past 7 years. Oh, it wasn’t that I didn’t get to go to the beach, I went, but I didn’t get to be still and take it in very much. The sound of my children interrupted that particular therapy…
I officially and blissfully crossed over a bittersweet transition a couple weeks ago and I reconnected with that therapy once more. My time was mostly my own on this trip in that I ate (and drank) what I wanted when I wanted, I talked with the grownups when I wanted, I played with the kids when I wanted, I went to bed when I wanted, and I checked in with work via email when I needed to. My beautiful boys are now 3 and 6.5 so for the first time in 7 years a family “trip” was more like a vacation to me. Ahhhhhh…
I remember fondly Tucker’s first beach trip to the Outer Banks when he was 3 months old and walking him up and down strange, empty sea salty streets at 3am while he fussed and failed to sleep in the rickety, rented crib. I recall leaving him with family while my husband and I got a dinner out and the way he screamed the entire time we were gone. My sweet sister in law and mother rocked him the entire time. Everyone was worn out when we got home!
Then I was pregnant again when Tucker was almost 3 so we started all over again. I did love the nap times with the toddlers on a lazy afternoon at the beach. “I’ll just lie with him until he goes to sleep,” only to awake three hours later. Those pregnancy trips weren’t especially fun either; let’s be real, that sunbathing in the last trimester isn’t relaxing or comfortable or therapeutic at all!
My youngest son, Sam, is now 3. He’s potty trained, doesn’t take regular naps, and plays with other kids well. He’s part of the group and as long as the brothers don’t wrestle each other to death, they just don’t need me as much.
They don’t need me as much…it’s bittersweet. I’ll miss the baby lotion smell, the snuggle dozes on my chest, even the nursing and feeding in the middle of the night when all that will soothe them is me and only me. The memories of childbirth and those first days at home are some of the very happiest memories I’ll ever have, but at the same time, don’t get me wrong, it’s thrilling to be where I am now!
As I sit here – actually getting to hear the ocean – while they do their own thing and I have a moment of reflection with door open and waves crashing at the foot of the stairs at high tide, my heart fills with love and appreciation for the beach where we will come many, many more years as a family.
While I know my boys will drift further and further away from me physically, it’s fun to be able to see them fend for themselves and to make friends and play independently. I appreciate the ocean for giving me some perspective throughout my life and for good talks with family here over large dinners, not to mention “cocktails and circles” over the years. I appreciate the ocean giving my energetic boys a huge, sandy playground that they never tire of.
My heart fills with love for the beach at this moment but mostly it is full of love and adoration for my sweet boys who are growing quicker than quick. For right now, at this time in their lives, its mandatory morning hugs and reading nighttime snuggles where my oldest gets to read a book to me.
And that’s exactly where I want to be.
– Leigh Bryant