The kids have friends over this morning. Their day started with two smiling faces bouncing through the door and a gathering of girls at the counter, whisking waffle batter. I made my bed and went down to the basement to load laundry from our weekend away. Damp swim trunks and towels, piles of soft, dirt-covered t-shirts that still smell like campfire.
I returned from the basement, with a bag of mini-chocolate chips that caught my eye, sitting on our shelves down there. You know, for the waffles.
Because, it’s Tuesday.
Or, because, it’s fun.
Or, because waffles (like most of life) are better with chocolate.
A couple of weeks ago, on a seventy-degree Friday morning, we played hooky from school and I sat at a nearly empty beach with friends. The kids scampered to the water, they made sand fortresses and climbed rock walls. They explored for hours and then would eventually nod off in a sandy, sticky, blissed-out haze, on our ride home. The moms and I breathed in cool salt air, cuddled under sweatshirts and towels and marveled aloud about how good our children’s lives our…and do they even appreciate just how GOOD they have it? This is the stuff childhood dreams are made of!
I mean, the BEACH on a Friday in May. Homemade chocolate chip waffles, on a Tuesday morning. Weekends at their grandparent’s lake. Trips to the circus, to the zoo, to ice cream stands and the park.
My children alone, live in a house with their best friends. They play outside with each other as soon as school work is done, or they read whatever book their heart desires (and that Amazon delivers). They have a swing set, a decent sized yard AND a baseball field at their disposal. Dairy Queen AND a McDonald’s play place are both within walking distance. They hike. They swim. They’ve been to Disney World and they’ve camped out under the stars.
Between March and the end of May, they’ve had six kid-birthday celebrations in our home. Daily life feels more like a carnival, and the ‘next fun thing’ always seems to be on the horizon.
There are moments that, oh my goodness, I’m breathless FOR them.
A morning over this past weekend, I sat out on the dock of my parent’s home. It was the first time I’d been alone in a few days and the silence and serenity over the water was like coming up for air after a long, deep, dive.
Up in the house, breakfast had been eaten and cleaned up, and now games were happening around a table. Little kids were reading together in a chair. A day of nothing but lighthearted fun, campfires and games and take-out for dinner was ahead.
But, on the dock, in my heart, everything was still – for that one moment.
June is about to descend upon me and it’s going to be hard – it’s going to be non-stop work, rather than non-stop fun. But, that’s the balance, isn’t it?
All of the adults in my little village, we work hard – we all spend long hours with clients, or catching up on our computers, or out errand running, or teaching, or driving, or doing. We’re always wiping up something or refereeing some squabble, or taking a head count. (So, so many heads to count.)
Parenting, adulting, never stops.
And it’s exhausting, to always be on – to be giving ourselves over and over again to these little mini-versions of ourselves (who may or may not fully appreciate all that we’re doing) and to be the one behind the steering wheel, even as the people we are serving are nodding off – sticky and sand covered after fun beach adventures, or trips for ice cream or to the lake – and, really, truly do they actually appreciate just how GOOD their lives are?
That morning on the dock, in the quiet stillness, I swear I heard my heart whisper back – do you?
I live in a house with best friends. I can unwind with them outside, watching our kids play, and eating dinner from the grill and sitting under a pergola in our backyard. I have a support system that allows me to take long walks or runs to nowhere in particular, when I need a moment to clear my head. I have an encouraging and solid spouse who pours me drinks or grills my dinner. I have loving, laughing, wonderful extended family. I pretty much have good people around me, all of the time. And it makes all of the difference in my life, and in my kid’s lives.
I live in a world where sometimes my heart is so full of the goodness that surrounds me, that I need a time-out. I need to sit on that dock and listen to nothing but the movement of the water, lapping up against the shore, and acknowledge what’s right in front of me, every new day.
Touche, Universe. Touche.