It felt good to have a “normal” day. My son and I woke up in a happy place, and before heading out to the shore, he said, “I love this day.” Isn’t that what life is about? Taking in the sun and enjoying the moment?
Honestly, going to the beach with a toddler is a lot of work. The three bags of beach gear (for one child! I don’t know how people manage more than one…I’d need a U-haul…), an hour long drive, buckets of sand in the car and dripping sweat require a lot of effort. With the car loaded and watermelon sliced, I pulled out onto the highway and smiled because not so long ago taking the same journey required immensely more effort than it did today.
The last time I ventured to the coast with my son (a year ago), we stayed only an hour-I was a newly separated woman trying to smile through my salty tears mixing with the salty water. The heaviest load then was not in lugging around the sunblock, towels, and toys, but rather, the grief and ghosts of past visits. I mourned the future my son will never know since he is now the product of divorce.
Today is different though. Time has strengthened my soul, and the emotional baggage is less cumbersome. Learning to find joy in the moment while letting go of yesterday and not being too concerned with tomorrow has made the walk in the sand almost effortless. I no longer lament the loss of a husband. Instead, I give thanks. After all, my son and I need someone that can weather the fiercest storms in even the tiniest of vessels.
I see my little beach bum trailing behind, his shovel in hand; he’s the one that’s accompanied me on every leg of this journey and is a constant reminder of life’s goodness. Though I never imagined all aspects of my son’s life as it is now, I always hoped for fun summer days and am thankful that some things are forever. Things like our time together in the crashing waves and things like parental love. The sun rays warm our day, but it’s his smiles that melt my heart. With Bob Marley playing in the background and toddler dance moves eliciting laughter louder than the sea gulls, it’s hard to worry about a thing. So I don’t.
Instead, I take in the opportunity we’ve been given to start over again. To make new memories and to meet new people. With our toes in the sand and our castle under construction, I know every little thing is going to be all right.
I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul. I may not know the exact direction life will take us, but I know whether it’s north or south, it’ll be towards happiness. I also know that in the meantime, as we cast our sails and await our next destination, I will be happy because I have the best little first mate a mommy could hope for.
As Charlie would say, “I like the big water splashes! I fall. I get back up. I do it again!”