I read the text message that had just come in on my phone… “Hey! We’re going away again this summer, would your family like to come stay at our house for a few weeks?”
She meant her house… the one steps away from the beach, her house stocked with LEGO, water guns, books, and toys. Her house with the trampoline and a backyard for my four boys to just yell, “We’ll be in the backyard mom!” as they run out the door on their own.
Her house, with ocean air and a stretch of road on which to ride bikes.
You know the house I’m talking about now, don’t you? The one with the methodical lapping waves that can be seen from the kitchen sink.
I’ve been tired this year. And not just tired like I need a nap tired… like tired way down to my toes and a bit inside my soul tired.
For a decade now I’ve been growing babies, birthing babies, taking care of new babies, gearing up for doing it all over again – and now we’re moving forward instead of in a cyclical motion. My youngest is 3. The diapers are gone. The stroller isn’t needed for every outing anymore. He’s grown too heavy for the baby carrier, and his sentences are beginning to sound like his big brothers.
And I know, from here on out, parenting and time, both of those things will require a purposeful savour.
It’s like we finally got to the top of the mountain; the trudging, the weariness, the one foot in front of the other, the little years; but now we’re going to sail down the other side of that mountain to the point in time where my four little babies are going to evolve into big burly men.
One day I’ll find myself walking behind them wondering, “When on earth did everybody in my home grow a moustache?”
So I’m choosing to savour now, on purpose, because I’m tired of being tired. Of all of the surviving, the getting to the next day, all of the doing, without making space and time for the being.
So yesterday we savoured hunting for special rocks on the beach. We combed that thing thoroughly, and then we went out the next morning and did the very same thing again. My dad said, “How nice you guys can pick up shards of other people’s broken bottles!” To which I laughed and answered, “Dad, we’re calling it sea glass…”
Whimsical beach treasure indeed.
The other morning we watched Christopher Robin immediately after breakfast, because we could. The nice and slow Disney movie where the little boy, the beloved friend of Winnie the Pooh is all grown up and has quite forgotten about The 100 Acre Wood. It seemed fitting. Even Christopher Robin was learning the lesson of remembering to slow down and savour.
“What day is it today?” was one of the lines…
“Oh, today! My very favourite day!”
It’s my new favourite too.
I’m 36 years old and still learning valuable life lessons from Winnie the Pooh. Well played A.A. Milne. Your longevity and influence is astounding.
The other morning I started pulling a few weeds out of the garden in the backyard.
“Mom! What are you doing?” One brother asked.
“Just let her pull the weeds, it reminds her of her childhood.” Another brother answered.
Their exchange was as delicious as finding the dirt under my fingernails again. I grew up with two gardens on four acres… and for that brief moment my son was right, I was back in time living the slow life of my childhood.
This little guy eventually joined in too… “Am I dirty Mom?” he asked as we came inside.
“Yes. Yes you are. Isn’t it fun?” I answered.
At the start of the summer I read a book called “Chasing Slow,” by Erin Loechner. I’m now in the middle of “Present over Perfect,” by Shauna Niequist. Even my book choices are starting to fall in line with the same theme of savouring…
Setting aside time to read EVERY SINGLE DAY has been a precursor retreat to this actual retreat. Reading teaches me the art of savouring. And my Bible and a book, it’s an immediate mini soul retreat combination. And if you think you don’t have time, you’re right… turns out you have to choose to make time. But it’s worth it… Try it, I dare you.
The Lord knew we needed a quiet retreat right about now. And he knew this Mama needed a place of freedom for her enthusiastic boys to run and play and BE OUTSIDE instead of just longingly looking down at it from our 22nd floor apartment window.
And He knew I needed to not just be still, but to noticeably FEEL like I was being still… and all with an ocean view. Over and above my friends…
So for the next few days we’ll just be over here… wandering the shoreline, throwing some rocks, precariously balancing on driftwood just for fun, making some popcorn and ruining our dinner on purpose, and probably still collecting some whimsical beach treasure now and again. And most importantly, we’ll be choosing to savour it all.