Restful Adventures: with 4 boys under the age of 8

Lately I’ve been proclaiming that all of our days are days of adventure. I find it’s more exciting for me, and the kids seem to get excited when I get excited. Funny how it obviously works like that.

They’re all wondering what on earth we are doing on said adventure days, and I’m all, ‘I can’t tell you… it’s a surprise….’ Because, wait for it, I don’t know what we are up to yet. I’m still wrapping my head around packing the stroller which should include its own Sherpa and nanny and maintenance person. I try to have a handle on it, but man.. every time we leave it’s the same hunt for the same things. I’m going to create a tool belt that just has diapers and wipes, outfit changes, band-aids, and a large snack variety to fit the ever changing opinions of who likes what snack on what day. “I’m allergic!” “No.. no you’re not.. it’s a banana, you’ll love it. The brown spots mean extra vitamins…’

Anyhow, yesterday was adventure Thursday. We took a walk to the beach after stopping at the bakery. I promise you, with kids, you don’t even have to try hard. To make memories you need time, a place, a special snack stop, and you’re good to go. Suddenly it actually is the best day ever, for all of us. So we grabbed a huge apple fritter to share, because my grandpa used to bring fresh warm apple fritters in a brown paper bag from the town bakery, and I loved it so much I can still smell them in my mind.

As it turned out, our apple fritter only contained one piece of apple, so I might argue that it was in actuality just a fritter, but we all happily licked icing off of our fingers at the end of our brief picnic.

We sat on the beach for just a minute, and then all four kids just took off in different directions. I was left sitting on my picnic blanket that I also won’t need for the next 2-5 years, because my current job is to follow Noah around while he climbs dangerously over rocks like a clumsy three-year-old, while simultaneously following Ethan and removing all cigarette butts and old straws from his mouth and hands.

Also, in the meantime, please make sure nobody is stealing the stroller and the big boys aren’t drowning in the ocean while they’re following their log boat in the crashing waves.

Nobody said the beach was restful.

NOT TRUE.

Everybody says the beach is restful, except for those who GO TO IT with toddlers… but my soul felt rest in the midst of yet another high alert escapade. That’s the ticket folks. Finding the rest in the midst of the chaos… because like I said, if you have small kids, for the next 2-5 years you aren’t going to find REST like the rest you used to know.

But here’s the good news. You aren’t supposed to.

You should feel freer.

And guess what else.

It’s ok to admit that IT IS HARD. IT IS SOMETIMES SO HARD AND RELENTLESS… that it requires ALL CAPS to describe it; but it’s ok. It’s supposed to be hard and relentless. Don’t waste any time wishing or waiting for it to be easy, just accept the fact that this is hard and it’s ok.

Freer. Told you. Can’t you feel it? Once you choose to feel freer, the resting part just starts to soak through your soul.

And REST? Coincidental that it rhymes with BEST? No way man.

Those boys found 10000 sticks of different sizes and shapes at the beach. To them they were javelins, and swords, and fishing rods, and whack a mole sticks… and Noah simply yelled “Hulk Smash!” and pounded the sand probably 22 times because that’s what he currently loves doing.

We examined an old crab and found a piece of driftwood shaped exactly like a steamship, and you bet your rockets we absolutely brought it home to paint, because what kind of shoddy homeschoolers would we be if we didn’t.

I made them stand and listen to the waves crashing on the beach; and we looked at the sailboats and helicopters and seaplanes passing us by, and we thanked God for eyes and ears and noses to smell salt water.

REST. I felt it in the midst of parenting four small boys under the age of 8. It was there and it’s my favourite, even if it looks drastically different from what I used to know.

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