"It's been so long since I've seen the ocean....guess I should."
-"A Long December" (The Counting Crows)
Last week, feeling a little tired from my self-selected professional development activities, I dreamed of the beach. The lyrics from "A Long December" by the Counting Crows kept playing in my mind: "It's been so long since I've seen the ocean...guess I should." It's truly a sin that I haven't seen the ocean since last August. Until today. I live on LONG ISLAND. In the same town as Jones Beach. The ocean is a 10 minute drive from my house. And I haven't been there.
Today, as I carried two heavy bags full of back-up bathing suits, suntan lotion, change of clothes, Goldfish, juice boxes, towels, pails and shovels, and my tantruming two year old, for a minute I dreamed of sitting in my professional development workshop, in the cool air conditioning, pen in hand, taking notes in my lovely notebook. I probably need a refresher on "the grass is always greener."
The beach as a mom is different from the beach in my imagination, where I can stare longingly at the rolling waves, clearing my mind, thinking profound thoughts, being one with the sea. The beach as a mom means constant vigilance about where Alex and Megan are, if they are too far in the waves, who is running in the other direction, are they okay? It's cleaning sandy hands and digging out juice boxes from my cluttered beach bag. It's making sure their experience is happy and safe and my own enjoyment of the beach takes a way back seat.
Still, there was joy. Alex's expression of pure delight as he leapt into the waves he used to fear, showing me how time is changing him. Megan's baby-like hands digging deep in the wet sand and then flinging it as she experimented and explored. They loved every second of the sand and sea with their cousins and aunts. Memories were made.
The picture above is Alex and Megan with their cousins, then made into a watercolor painting through Waterlogue. I try to take pictures whenever I can, to remember these moments. Even though some of the moments involved scorching hot sand under my feet, tears and tantrums when it was time to leave, and exhaustion at all the packing, unpacking and packing up again, even though it's not all perfect, I want to hold onto these moments. Another lyric in "A Long December" says, "I can't remember all the times I tried to tell myself to hold onto these moments as they pass." Time is passing by, as it does, but today we saw the ocean and I'll hold onto that.