Motherhood is exhausting, right? At least that’s the battle cry (or yawn) of mothers everywhere. We are tired, worn out, depleted. We just want a nap and the chance to go to the bathroom alone. But, while that may be true, that’s a dangerous place to stay. If we see motherhood as only a depletion of our energy, then we miss the beauty of it all.
This past weekend, we took the kids to the beach. I have always loved the beach. The sights, sounds, smells all whisk me away to my happy place. Nature is my sanctuary and the beach, my sanctum. I could spend hours lying on the sand, listening to the water break the shore, while feeling the sun’s rays warming me. That is my picture-perfect day.
Once we got to the beach, we let the kids burn off some energy on the playground. We dipped our toes in the arctic Lake Michigan water. We walked the pier and climbed an observation platform. We watched someone reel in a large catch. The entire time, the kids kept asking when they’d get to play in the water. They couldn’t wait to dip more than just their toes in those frigid waters. We finally chose our spot and spread our towels. Matt, the littlest and I plopped down in the sand, while the other two immediately ran for the water.
With more bravery than I could muster, they ran waist deep into the post-Polar Vortex water. Their joy was audible. They sprinted from water to shore, and back. They jumped over small, cresting waves. They splashed and giggled, as we absorbed the warmth of the sand.
At one point, I turned to Matt and said, “I can’t believe how much they like the beach.” They were surrounded by only two things: water and sand. And yet, they were overwhelmed by happiness. There were no electronics or Legos. There was no TV show playing in the background. They weren’t surrounded by gadgets designed to distract or educate. They were just two kids, running through the surf, and one sitting on the sand. And they couldn’t have been happier.
I’ve always loved the beach, but to me it is a place of rest and relaxation. Of course, as a mother, a trip to the beach can be less than renewing. Before hitting the road, we must pack bags, grab towels, approve swim apparel, pack sufficient snacks, and lather sunscreen on various arms, legs and cheeks. Before we can get to the point of lying in the sand, we must make sure all is in order, that nothing has been forgotten and that all possible necessities have been gathered and accounted for.
Motherhood is a lot like a trip to the beach. We could get stuck in the planning, the packing and the preparing. We could focus our energy on making sure enough sunscreen has been applied and that enough snacks have been packed. But, if we keep our focus on the checklist, we miss the life-giving beauty of it all.
So if my kids taught me anything this weekend, it’s that sometimes we need to put away the distractions and dance in the sand for a few minutes. Sometimes we need to put aside comfort and feel the shocking chill of that beautiful water. Yes, motherhood can be exhausting, but if we long for only rest, we miss out on how exhilarating life can be. We only need to see the beach from a child’s perspective to realize this. Sometimes we need to just drink in the beauty that surrounds us and not be afraid to get caught up in joy.
So tell me, what have your kids taught you lately?
If you enjoyed my pictures, find me on Instagram where my stream is flooded with happinesses each day.