Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Accentuate the positive....

We are at the beach this week. I would love to say that it has been the perfect vacation, but I live in the real world, so there is no such thing. First off, Pablo is terrified of the ocean this time. Understand, on previous visits, it was hard to keep him OUT of the water. He didn't want to swim, but he loved chasing waves and all that shallow water stuff. This time, one foot on the soft sand and he was freaked. Completely. The earth moved, and that was seriously uncool. So much for practically living at the beach. We went anyway, and I tried to show him what was happening (ie tiny amounts of sand were moving, not huge amounts that would suck him into the earth). No dice.

Now add to the horror of being forced to go somewhere scary to the huge changes in our daily schedule, change of space, etc. and we were prime for melt downs. Oh yeah. Add to that a mama who was seriously obsessed with all of us having a good time, dammit. At the beach. You see it coming, don't you?

Well one day of that and I let it go. I didn't let go of us going to the beach, but I let go of what going to the beach would look like. My little girl loves the water. Can't get enough. My little boy wants to be far from it. We mamas alternate between.

Today we did some serious sand play. I took my shovel and dug a hole deep enough that Beebz could stand in it with only her head and neck peeking out. She loved it. We made a Chutes and Ladders board in the sand and played with shells (no problem since Pablo has the chutes and ladders memorized). It evolved into some game involving the board and traveling to different countries. I am not really sure about the details because I was busy building a sand dragon. It was seriously fun. More importantly, is was seriously fun FOR ALL OF US.

This week has taught me several things. First and foremost, I am not the parent I want to be. There is a gulf between what I believe in and what I do that I want to close. It is easy to see this week because almost every day I have gotten time to myself, I am not lonely, and I am relaxed.

This is vastly different from normal life. And it shouldn't be.

I need to be taking time for daily self reflection rather than wasting all of what little time I get on escapist activities. I need to try harder to find a network of moms who have kids who like my own (and who I get along with). This is probably an impossible dream, but hey, I can try. Sitting at home doesn't get it done. I am not sure where to go and what to do... maybe I will meet parents at Pablo's camp this summer?

I see how I have gotten less and less mindful. More and more checked out. More and more stressed out. And less and less who I want to be. This vacation is like a breath of air after drowning. I didn't even know what it felt like to feel good anymore. Sadly enough, it will end. I wish it didn't have to. But I can take the lessons learned home with me. I can take better care of myself even though there is no ocean to help me feel alive again (fyi, if I believed in church, which I seriously don't, the beach would be mine. It is the place that comforts me and makes me feel connected to the universe like nothing else can. I cry every time I think of having to leave it. Literally. I am tearing up right now. My partner can attest.) I can find ways to feel connected to the universe even though I am miles away from the shore. At least, I can try.

Mostly, I see how negative I had become. How jaded. How hopeless. I had given up. On everything. Including the universe. But the tides showed me that things come and go, nothing stays the same. Nothing should. We can choose how we focus on the change. We could fixate on some arbitrary RIGHT way and try to force ourselves (and our poor children) into that. Or we can take each new thing, cherish the good (there is ALWAYS good), and let it go when it is time. And find the next good thing. And the next. And the next. And we can know with utter certainty, that is happening in it's own time, just as is should. Every moment there is something to cherish. Something to learn. Something to release. Something.

And after all that, how hypocritical would it be of me to say I don't want to leave? Yeah, yeah, I know.


  1. Sometimes I read your posts and I feel like Will Ferrel in Stranger than fiction, which is fine, as long as your not planning to kill me off. (Ask me if you haven't seen the movie... I'm not nuts really)
    I can relate to so much of what you write... which must mean that this is one of those common frustrations with parenting. In particular I think when you are a Stay at home mom who really is doing it all the time. No babysitter's etc, and trying really hard to give your kids a happy fullfilling life.
    It's Damn hard work. Straight up. No kidding.
    But, I can tell you, it gets a little easier as they get older. Pablo's the same age as T and we go through some of the same things, but they have pretty different personalities, but, when they were both little and Z was the same age as Chiara, and younger, I can't even tell you how many days I felt the way you've just described.
    I'm glad you are having fun at the beach, however that plays out. You're doing good. You really are.

  2. I love that you let go of what 'going to the beach looks like'. I think that is such a vital insight.

  3. "There is a gulf between what I believe in and what I do that I want to close."

    I feel this every day... over the weekend, I was reading a book and I realized that I have the need for rest and relaxation. That rest and relaxation are often the ever-elusive answers to me being more the parent I want to be. I felt complete relief in finding it and saying it, and empathy welled up around me, for myself. Like, sure, I could go through the day beating myself up for not being the way I want to be (which is what I've been doing), or I can take a moment to be kind to myself about the fact that some of my needs aren't being met right now.

    I don't know, it seemed major when it happened. I guess it's analogous to you letting go of what going to the beach looks like. All these little recognitions and lettings go and moving forwards do add up.

    The gap IS closing. :)