Exactly one week ago, my family joined another for a vacation across the state. We packed our kayaks fishing gear and roughly twelve outfit changes too many per person and then proceeded to spend four days walking white sand beaches, holding sand dollars and sea stars and drinking ice cold drinks. We remembered our sunscreen, which helped tremendously in assuring we had a good time upon waking and launched ourselves off a boat, careening into the Gulf of Mexico where we swam to sand bars and checked out tiny islands. The days flew by.
Those days, in turn, made me think of how quickly not just that week went by but how fast the last five weeks have gone by. Almost overnight it seems school supplies have been cropping up like intruding mushrooms or other blooms I didn’t purposefully plant alongside the paddleball paddles and sunscreen and goggles that proudly trumpeted SUMMER from the end caps of the grocery store. Low and slow at first, this drumming along of calendar pages expiring is upon us.
I, for one, have a bad habit of looking backward, holding fast to the memories that are the sweetest and trying to grope my way through the ones that I can’t seem to make peace with yet. Summertime has a way of raining down on all the hard lines I draw around what has happened, what I am doing now and what remains to be tackled in a kaleidoscopic fashion before ultimately turning into a watercolor of blocks of time in my life. The sand felt like that on vacation. A bird’s eye view told me it was one large swath of beach, stretching generously around the state, but when I pulled a handful to me, there were infinite tiny pieces of what used to be making up what was now.
In terms of a school year, we are smack dab in the middle of summer though I swear it was just yesterday that I closed the chapters of kindergarten and third grade for the girls. I usually sweat it out – both literally and figuratively in summertime, wondering if I did enough but this summer I am surprisingly at peace with the pace, mainly because I am stopping to look around at least once every day. The to-do list in my head has become more of a touchstone and less of a tether. If the books on my nightstand go back to the library unread it only means that something else came along and took priority and somehow, miraculously, all of the chocolate ice cream that plummets to the tablecloth, to pajamas and little hands and faces comes out with a wash.
I know it’s a unique perspective to look at time as an adult of my age and not counterbalance it with the demands of a job. Relaxing my outlook on what could or might get accomplished each day, as long as it’s on my personal agenda, is a luxury many people don’t have and can become an anchor for others still. I feel the need to temper any reference to being a stay at home mom with my running lists of responsibilities in an effort to justify myself and this summer I have even taken a vacation from that exhausting task. I have only one plan for the next five weeks and it is this; I want to see sunsets and sunrises and full moons and shooting stars and tap into the feeling that I have kept on a slow burn deep inside that something wonderful is about to happen and there is smoothing great working in my favor (and yours too – call it God, or mana, or as Star Wars distills it beautifully: “The Force”).
I am aligning my thoughts and potential that way. Which just so happens to be a full swing of the needle away from all the worries and anxieties that wrap their jellyfish tentacles around me while I wallow in the wonder of if I am enough. There will obstacles of course, on this road trip to happiness but they don’t have to stop me in my tracks and trick me into believing that feeling truly blissful has to be temporary or that it was never attainable in the first place. Just those pieces of sea glass and spiky conch shells and lone pink feather that made their way into my hands, I am collecting my own wonders and displaying them proudly to remind me of where I am and where I am going.