We had a tough morning. Well, tough is not the best word. Full? All the things? By 8:30am, both kids had eaten two breakfasts, had a time out each, done puzzles, played games, set up necklace store and were busy taking orders. I had heard my own name over a hundred times and knew we had a get out of the house.
Sometimes, despite my best intentions, I find myself mothering from a place of depletion. There’s never enough. Never enough sleep. Never enough patience. Never enough snacks for my two bottomless pits. That nap was not long enough. Neither was that episode of Dinosaur Train. Not enough clean pajamas. Not enough time for another story. We’re late to preschool because there wasn’t enough gas in the car.
So that morning we went to the beach. The beach is about five minutes from our house, and despite the holiday, the thick fog kept everyone else away and we had it to ourselves. We all unknot at the beach. I stretch. Our limbs get loose. At home we pile on top of each other. Kids climb onto my lap while I try to write a work email. Cruz sticks his feet on London’s high chair tray because he knows she doesn’t like it. London demands, “carry you!” all day long. But at the beach we wander. We can be together or be apart. London starts to fill buckets with sand near our blanket while Cruz pulls long strings of kelp up from the water’s edge.
The tide started to pull out, leaving behind smooth stones and the most beautiful small shells I’ve ever found on our coast. I picked them up, reminding myself of their names, learned a long time ago. Scallop, murex, whelk, olive shells, moon snail. I thought about where I would put them in our house, about how many I could gather and would they break on the way home. I looked at the small collection and realized I needed more. It wasn’t enough.
I called Cruz over to show him the shells. “Shells!” he yells. He grabs them from my hands, takes off running down the beach, flings them back into the waves. I regret it and then look back at the huge ocean in front of me, at my children running on endless sands. And miraculously, my friend pulls up to the beach with her girls, and we settle in for a spontaneous playdate.
Trade my clenched fists for open hands. It is enough. It is beyond enough.
The Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing. He makes me sit down on empty beaches, He leads me beside crashing waves, He restores my soul… He prepares a picnic before me in the presence of toddlers. You anoint my head with sunscreen and sand; my cup overflows.