Thursday, August 16, 2007
Five Important Things
In a moment of spontaneity yesterday morning, I decided to take the kids over to Santa Monica to the beach for a couple of hours. I informed them that we would not bring the cooler, nor lunch, nor drinks, nor snacks. Just us, our towels, the umbrella, the sand toys, and the baby. And we had a blast. There's just something about the seaside that I adore. On either coast. I drink in the smell of the salt water, the sound of the waves, rhythmic and unending. I love the happy sounds. Children laughing. Grown-ups laughing. Seagulls calling. The warm sun. The cool breeze. It's all just so wonderful.
As I was waiting in line to feed the parking lot machine, a young bronze-skinned man with longish hair, bare feet, and a surf board under his arm turned to me and silently counted the children. I could tell by the way his eyes went from one to the next, while silently bobbing his head at each.
"There are five?" he asked.
"Yes," I responded with a smile, waiting for the standard amazed comment.
"I'm one of five," he said in a matter of fact tone.
"Really?" I ask.
"Yeah, only we didn't have such a good mix...you've got 3 boys and 2 girls, right?"
"Yeah, my sister is the oldest, followed by 4 boys."
"Wow." I said. "Four boys in a row?
"Yeah, Mom kept trying for another girl." He was smiling now. "It just didn't work."
By this time he had paid for his space and began walking toward the water. We wished each other a good day, and we all watched him meander away, amazed that he could slowly walk across the pavement at midday with no shoes!
I'm sure when he drove to the beach that day to surf, he was not planning on encouraging a mom of five. Yet, he did. Just by speaking to me.
We spent two lovely hours at the beach. Laughing, jumping, splashing, watching. Kurt hung out in the sling. Gabriel spent almost the whole time running away from the water as it came tumbling toward him. Gretchen and Lillian worked diligently on a castle with moat. Nicholas jumped, ran, and swam without pause. We headed back to the car tired. Covered in sand. Happy.
As I watched my children play and laugh, I was reminded how much I want to savor these moments of childhood. To feast upon them as delicacies. There is so much joy in simply watching others who are filled with joy, no? I need the constant minutely reminder that there will always be stuff to do, but these, my precious children, will not always be by my side, laughing, giggling, and soaking up life. Now is the time to spend with them. To enjoy them. To teach them that which is eternally important. God has given me these specific children for His specific reasons. May I never consider the stuff more important than them.