The power of the ocean overwhelmed me more than once in those years. The hazy California sun overhead. Fog more than likely. Daring the cool water you head out, trying to stand as the current sucked the salty water back out to sea. A few steps. You stop. Crabs maybe, a shell, catching your attention, you wiggle and feel the sand pulling in your feet. Now, feet stuck into the sand, you see the wave coming, you wobble, take a step back, let the wave wash over you, maybe splashing up your leg, then, energized, you step out again, the sand gushing down between your toes once more, ready, more than ready, for that next wave.
Where am I going with this?
I was contemplating my birthday coming up this fall. Not THE big one, but close. (Those flannel shirt wearing days were the grunge years of the 90s, you do the math) And really, my parenting journey. Little man is about to turn 8. There is something significant about 8.
And, well, suddenly this image came to my mind, as these milestones and the emotions they bring were swirling around today, out in the garden, picking yet another load of beans which are now on my counter, staring at me. Help me Sara! Put me in a jar with a yummy brine! To which I say, LATER, damn talking green beans!
Where was I.
This was all swirling in my mind and that image suddenly came to me. This foot, sinking in the sand, that step back as the wave comes, the pushing out further as you suddenly find yourself no longer timid. Feeling out the ocean, understanding its strengths, your weaknesses.
Finding your footing.
Something about this birthday, mine and his. And I feel like, yea, I feel like I have found my footing.
Who I am.
What I want.
How I don't give a shit about some things, I thought I would care about immensely in my 20s. How I DO give a shit about things that seemed so unimportant at one point in life.
The knowingness of self is the best part of this phase of life. A growing wisdom to see faults (too many on some days), yet the energy and will to still try to overcome those faults, put them to rights. The energy to dream, big, but now, the balls to go out and DO. Yes, I said balls. No, I don't usually say that in real life, but it works here.
Also in parenting.
I kind feel like I got the little kid parenting thing kind sorta sorted out. I know whats what. Not to say I don't have HARD DAYS (read, TODAY) but that, I have seen it. Been hit by that wave a time or two, and I know that as I take a step back, to find my footing once more, I will be able to step down, sink my toes in the sand, and move on out into the ocean again (awaiting the sharks of the teenage years, no doubt. HA HA)
It was a good realization. Even amidst a hard day (allergy suffering children who are snuffly and grumpy and angsty about birthdays and presents and etc etc.) Even when things in my own life feel rather wave crashy. (Trying to make my little book project REAL whilst home schooling and picking up client work and the green beans mocking me......)
Even so. Even when. I know that step back doesn't mean moving back. That big wave crashing doesn't mean the end of it all. It means, once again, stepping back, finding your footing, so you can step forward again, enjoying the waves and all that comes along with them, the sun, the sparkle on the water, that salt smell, the breeze, the cry of the gulls. All of it.
Here is me in those years. So, I look exactly the same, except I am more tired now. And I don't tie up my hair in scrunchies. HA. I always had a baby in my arms in those years too. This is my little sister Molly.
I am honest to God SO FLIPPING THANKFUL I did not exist as a teen in the years of the selfie and social media. Otherwise you would have seen shitty photos like this of me EVERY DAY for years. I took stacks of these, my sisters and friends and I, but they only exist in a shoe box in the closet and NOT ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Except for this one. Er. Um. HA.
My effort at a sexy pose, apparently. THAT HAIR. I want that hair again.
THIS PICTURE MAKES ME LAUGH OUT LOUD. HA. This is how we went to the beach. Halter top. Cut off jean shorts. Ball cap. Ray Bans.
No seriously, why don't I live there anymore??? Honey. Time to pack up. Winter is a'coming!!!