The Moment of Tooth

I once read an article that talked about all the “last moments” that are lost – because we may not even know it is the last. I mean as parents we celebrate all the first moments. First time walking. First words.

But this article talked about the “last” moments, and it hit home like a ton of bricks because the truth is, we rarely even realize when those last moments are happening. As they grow and we celebrate those independent moments – like washing their hair all by themselves. But one day you sit back and mourn that moment passed you by and you didn’t even know it was the last time you would “get” to wash their hair – Ugh! That hurts!

Tonight we pass a milestone that I actually do know and realize will be a last – barring any terrible accident on a volley ball court or play ground. Tonight she slipped her last tooth under her pillow. Last visit from the tooth fairy. Last time she will make me nearly faint as she wiggles it all around before she bravely pulls it out herself. Like – when did she get so brave?!?

This is my baby. I have a teen that passed that moment by so long ago – that I honestly don’t remember her last tooth. See?! She’s on to bigger and better things like learning to man a 3,000 pound road sled and not wreck it. That’s exactly how it happens too. Focusing on the next big milestone after milestone and all those “last moments” can easily scurry right by you unannounced.

I’m not even sure which is worse…knowing something is your last, or letting it slip by you blissfully unaware. Because knowing this is the last tooth….I am sitting here writing this through ridiculous blurry, teary eyes. Geesh. If I realized when each last moment was happening – I would probably be walking around like a blubbering sobby incoherent mess. One big walking Hallmark channel movie mess.

So – here is to final visits from the tooth fairy. Cheers, and Tears.  I know some parents would rejoice at this moment. No more waking up in the middle of the night or worse yet – sliding it under the pillow in the morning after they are already awake because the tooth fairy forgot!! Oh, I can’t tell you how many times I had to pull the old “Oh here it is, you didn’t look hard enough!” act. Cause as they do grow and get older…so do we.

But tonight the tooth fairy did not forget. In fact, she left behind a fat $20 AND…FAIRY GLITTER! Which of course, she will be far more excited about than the money. Because she still adamantly believes in fairies. And so do I – because she keeps them so alive. Naively, I would love to believe there will never be a last day she believes in those.

Of course this makes we think back and wonder what else I have missed recently? What other “lasts” have I missed? I still get to pour the milk when it’s too heavy at least. I’m good for that. I still get to take hot things out of the oven. Ok…I’m still mommy.

Deep breath. Good cry. And carry on. In the end, it’s all just part of it. All we can do is take it all in. Hope we are doing a decent job at it. And learning to hold on as best as we can, as we hit these moments of truth and tooth.

 

 

 

If You Give a Mom a Moment

me and kiddos

Each summer my big girl makes a 5 or 6 week visit to her dad. On top of that, I share custody of my youngest so I get her every other week. So at times when they are both away, I am forced to take…a moment.

I know I am not alone in my situation – there are plenty of other parents that have to experience this. I used to get intensely sad and mope for days and even fall into a depression about it. But I have slowly been able to turn my perspective of void and sadness to joy and happiness.

So, what is the big turn around?

My girls and I really enjoy the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie series. We are always making up our own goofy versions. So here’s a nod to Laura Numeroff, the author, and a feeble attempt at a parody on it to try to explain how things turned around for me.

If You Give a Mom A Moment…

At first she will be sad. Saying good bye is hard. Chances are, she will cry. She will try not to cry in front of her child, but if she does, chances are, she will realize moping around and acting like a victim or martyr, borders on emotional manipulation and only robs everyone of happiness. If she wants her children to be strong, well-adjusted people – she will want to model that.

And if she is modeling healthy role-model behavior, chances are she will eventually find humility – She will have to accept that she alone, is not enough for her children. That her kids need their dad(and step mom if there is one, and many other relatives) in their lives to keep them stable, happy and confident. It takes a village. Really.

Once she is humbled, chances are, she will just want her children to be happy. She will realize that as long as her kids want to spend time with their dad and he wants to spend time with them, it is ALWAYS a positive and wonderful thing. So she will foster that relationship like crazy (regardless of her past and personal history with her ex. Because she will realize it is not all about her).

And chances are, if she sees how happy her kids are, it will change her perspective. She will realize there are much harder things people are dealing with, and that this is a very temporary time apart.

When she realizes this time apart is only temporary, chances are she will spring into action and want to take advantage of the fleeting moment.

She will want to deep clean, and even down-size STUFF!

And since she is cleaning and decluttering, chances are, she will sift through the mountain of randomness that inevitably collects in the open real estate of unused kitchen corners and dispose, dispose, dispose…and file the 3 things she actually needs to keep.

Since she cleaned up all that clutter, chances are she will want to get organized and figure out how to prevent that from happening again.

She will probably spend some time on pinterest searching really cool ways to organize stuff.

And since she is on pinterest, chances are, she will see images of women that appear to have it altogether and are enjoying life.

When she sees images of these women being carefree, she will remember a time when she was carefree.

It might remind her that the only person holding herself back from being carefree right now is her, and she will want to claim some quiet time herself.

She will probably sit still and do nothing for awhile. She will be reminded of a time before children where there was no one constantly bumping her, stepping on her toes (literally), poking her, sitting on her, and interrupting every 5 seconds.

And when she thinks about not being interrupted, chances are, she will want to spend some time with her spouse completing full sentences and thoughts and catching up with the person she fell in love with.

When she spends time with her spouse, she will probably talk about her dreams and hobbies. She will want to work on recording music she has written, work on books that need finished and published, sift through electronic pictures and maybe get some printed out. She might even want to paint, and experiment with new art forms.

Painting will remind her of wine and canvas nights and time with her own friends. Chances are, she will make a few dates with her friends and go out and have a blast, without needing to ensure everyone is safe, comfortable, and properly hydrated (and bug sprayed, or sun screened, or have enough snacks on hand, or needs a hair tie, or has to go potty or…)

And when she spends time with her friends, they will probably end up talking about their children. She will get to vent about life and parenthood, and then brag a little about her kids. Chances are, she will compare notes, and get some great advice.

And when she gets some great advice, it will probably make her reflect on what she is doing well as a mom, what she could do better, and take some time to read up on how to influence instead of nag. How to partner, not be nosy.

And while she is reflecting, chances are, she will probably miss her kiddos. She might even shed a few tears…

But this time they are not tears of pure sadness, but of completeness. And when she realizes how far she has come…chances are, she will want to have a moment.

Beauty in the Chaos

ripples of joy

The beauty of Chaos

The beauty of Chaos

Sometimes I can get a little intense about taking photos – especially photos of water. Flowing water in a creek, water droplets on a blade of grass or flower. My kids even make fun of me because I tend to go overboard.

“Hey mom! – look! There are some dew drops over here. Better get your camera!”

One picturesque fall day I looked over the bank and saw so much potential and beauty just there for the capturing.

I grab my camera and head down to the creek. Excited about what my lens might find.

Much to my dismay, both of my girls decided they just had to come down with me and play in the creek at the same time.

I thought to myself…well, there goes any chance I was hoping of getting some good shots.

You know what they say about assuming.

Let’s just say I was in for some humble pie and a huge life lesson.

We all get down there in one piece (it is a steep descent/ravine).

The girls started doing what they do best…causing utter havoc. And being completely adorable while doing it. I believe whole heartedly that kids need to experience nature first hand like this.

I am all for getting them out of the house and letting them get a little dirty.

Just not while I am trying to take photos, for heaven’s sake!

But I soon forgot about those frustrations. Just watching them. They are so beautiful. So full of silliness, play, and wonder.

They transform into magical water fairy nymphs right before my eyes.

Then came the splashing. The inevitable splishing and splashing, and accidental falling in. All just a matter of time.

So there I am snapping away at some of the artfully placed leaves I had my eye on from the start. Except now, there was all kinds of chaos going on around this otherwise peaceful scene and moment just a few yards away.

I was about to get frustrated, but thought better of it. I kept snapping pictures. Art is all just an experiment anyways – at least for me at this amateur phase.

And of course you know what happened…

I got some of the best shots I could have hoped for. WAY better than if I had gone down there alone.

Because the most beautiful part of the pictures I captured that day was not the leaves on the water that I had gone down there for…

The most beautiful part was the water that had come to life all around the leaves.

All because 2 little girls were curious and had to follow their crazy mommy down to the water.

And I am so thankful they did.

They continue to teach me lessons like this all the time.

Lessons of letting go of control. Letting go of expectations.

Letting life be even more beautiful by the surprises that happen when you surrender all those preconceived notions or thoughts on how things should be like this or that.

There is a lot of beauty and freedom in that kind of surrender.

They are great teachers. Even when I am a reluctant learner.

And though I still yearn for calm and quiet times now and then, I know I will look back at these days and miss being smothered by two needy, precious girls that will grow up all too fast.

I am thankful for these teaching moments and for the beauty in the chaos.

beauty in the water

beauty in the water

Through Their Eyes

Zoo day 073

I was driving home and Peter Gabriel’s “In your eyes” came on. I love that song…even after all these years.

But it got me thinking. How many times a day do I REALLY look INTO the eyes of my loved ones? In the busyness and chaos of shuffling to and from school, or summer camps, or work, and the store, and getting chores done, even when playing – when do I really just take the time to look right into their eyes and pause for a moment and just be, and see?

And that got me thinking even further – how many times do I stop, get down on my children’s level and see the world THROUGH their eyes? Between all the to-do lists, meals, clean up, errands and every day life…sometimes I feel like I am racing some god forsaken clock – trying to beat some buzzer to get the kids in bed in time for a few winks myself.

That makes me sad when I think about.

What a waste.

And I am a mom that actually tries to not take a lot for granted…yet I still do.

I felt a renewed desire to rush home to the girls and try to take the time to look into their beautiful brown eyes. To really “see” them. For this moment in time that they are this very age and never will be again.

And yet – it still happened. I enter the house, and a dog needed mega attention and a walk, and the sisters wanted to play a computer game together, and dinner needed to be cooked, and dishes put away, and bills cleared from the counter, and the cat was meowing his head off and…

I didn’t get that magical moment I had been day dreaming about.

Not at the moment.

But.

I did get to watch them eat a healthy dinner (well…relatively healthy…ok…at least not harmful dinner), we chased the puppy around and laughed at his ridiculousness. I asked (nagged) them both to brush their teeth and get on their jammies (and let them win the argument to sleep in their shorts and t-shirts, because you know they are ultra comfie and about the same thing), and got a surprise kiss and hug from my big girl (who recently told me she was done with kisses).

And I got to snuggle with my little one as usual (after she read a story about feelings, built an extensive nest, rearranged it several times, got a drink of water, checked on her American Girl doll, rebuilt her nest and finally settled down). I had broke down earlier in the day and bought her the Frozen CD…(yes…better late than never) so I also got to listen to her sing every single word to about 5 songs before she started actually getting a little tired.

And I got to smell her, and be close, and try very hard not to tickle her because it is one of my favorite things to do, but I was trying to get her to sleep, so I had to be good. So I just laid there – so thankful for the moment. Like I do every night.

But it was a little different. I wasn’t rushing to beat a clock tonight.

And the only difference was my attitude. Plain and simple. All the chaos was still there. I just chose to have a different focus.

I do try to remember life is not a race, and try very hard to not take moments for granted, but I still do sometimes. And I have to remind myself like this now and then to focus on right here and now. Soak in these moments. Look into their eyes…and see life through their eyes.

I love to give my kids the camera and see what pictures they took. To see their perspective. But I need to be more intentional about seeing life through their eyes on a more consistent basis and without a camera to show me.

That’s my goal these next few weeks (again). To start (re)training myself to slow down, look into their sweet eyes, and see life through their amazing brief childlike perspective.

Confessions of a Recovering Helicopter Parent

In my early years of parenting I heard many times from older mothers, “You are one of the best, most engaged parents I have ever seen”. Some even went as far as to admit they felt a since of guilt that they were nowhere near the hands on parent that I was. Insert Sigh of relief and maybe even a moment of gloating that perhaps I was doing this parenting thing right!

But was I? Since that time, I have made some parenting adjustments. Partly because 1. no one can keep up that pace and stay sane and 2. I had another child and went through a divorce at roughly the same time and simply couldn’t be there like I had in the past.

It was the end to craft marathons, baking and cooking from scratch together for hours on end (while pretending to narrate our own mother daughter cooking show), and trying to fill every waking moment with a kid filled activity from library story times, to mommy play groups, to the zoo to…you name it. If it was published in a local paper, or posted on the internet – you can assure it was marked in my calendar and it was a ragged, grueling schedule to keep up with.

Both me and my husband (I remarried) are products of the generation of parenting that was fairly hands off. I was left alone at very early ages to navigate some pretty scary situations and paid the price now and then. I had the added handicap of having a mom that was afflicted with mental illness and simply couldn’t look after, or advocate for me consistently. She herself actually put me in harms way sometimes. The result left me with a strong desire and urge to over parent and over protect my children – in attempt to keep anything bad from ever happening.

My husband was doing man chores – like serious hard labor chores at the age of 8 and continued to do so for years. To this day he is the hardest worker I know – and I sometimes have to get on him to just chill out and take a break and have fun, and I am guilty of quoting corny cliches things like, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. But the nice unexpected result is that since he has entered our lives he has helped instill a since of work ethic into our girls by doling out age appropriate chores – that I otherwise might not have done – or at least on a consistent basis.

With him in our lives thankfully our girls are learning the feeling of earning a true “Atta girl”, and a sense of accomplishment, not to mention just a sense of worth. Just this weekend my little one age almost 6 decided to take upon herself the chore of cleaning the kitty litter box. This has been my 11 year olds job for a few years now. I think tid bit volunteered partly because she wants to be like big sis, partly because it is a novelty (I’m a romantic…not an idiot), and partly and maybe without her even realizing it – it gives her a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

So while our generation is getting a bad rap for the helicopter parenting style (as my earlier years), our previous generation sometimes gets pegged with under parenting (examples – I had to cross a 4 lane highway to get to school unattended at age 7 and tripped one day to nearly be smashed by a semi). But where is that healthy middle ground? It’s kind of hard to navigate sometimes.

But I have to set one thing straight for the records. Since I have intentionally backed off a bit I have to say this, “The less hands on parenting style is NOT for the lack of parenting or love or what is sometimes perceived as”. It does NOT give me more “Me” time. It does NOT make my life easier. In fact…what I am finding is as I force myself to back off, let them be “alone” sometimes, let them do chores and fail at them many times over is WAY WAY harder than just doing it all myself in the disguised name of “helping them out”.

Because let’s be honest here. It would so much faster for me to always vacuum, do my oldest daughters laundry when she has nothing clean to wear, for me to always do the dishes, etc. Why? Because I know it would be done right! Yes, it kind of drives me a little nuts when I go to get a plate out of the cupboard that has some mystery dried gunk on it. Not a fan of that.

But that is also a teaching moment. That is when I need to call for my oldest and either give her the option to eat off that plate tonight or let her have a re-do. It takes extra time…and it takes multiple times because believe me – you would think that after you did that once or twice…or 36 times that they would incorporate quality into the initial process the first time! But then I remember that she IS a kid… and that this IS a slow developmental process. And that in the end it is for her benefit – not just mine. And it is ANYTHING but hands off and easy.

I gain more respect for my parent’s generation style of parenting all the time. Especially when I know some 13 year old kids that literally don’t know how to make a sandwich for themselves. I absolutely cringe – and part of me feels really sorry for the spouse to be – if they ever get that far.

So let’s be clear here and say that those parents that are filling out college applications for their kids or worse yet – taking tests for them or intervening into their battles of “he said/she said” staying up all night to finish a project that the kid had 4 weeks to complete…are not these great hands-on parents that we should feel guilty that we don’t measure up to. They are doing clean up duty!! Because it is easier to swoop in and be the rescuer to avoid an emotional let down than stand back and let the kid build some character – which WILL require some heartbreaks, broken friendships, and a failed test or assignment here and there.

Not only are we giving them a false sense of security, a warped view of reality, but we are robbing them of the building blocks to life. If I didn’t like my boss…I can’t have my parent call HR and get me moved to a different department people! And if I get lazy and don’t do my best, mommy is not going to call my boss to fight for another chance for me or worse yet – blame my boss for some unrealistic standards!

Now I am not saying to NOT advocate for our children when they are actual harm, being bullied or something like that. In that case you smack it down like starving lioness and instill the fear of what is good and Holy where you need to. But even then – there are tactical, ways to do that. And discussing it with your child is a good start, making them part of the solution if and when appropriate, etc.

It is much harder to let your kids get scraped now and then, than to never let them fall down on the play ground. I have had to literally turn the other way a few times or pry my knuckles from a bench to refrain from catching a near fall (of 1 foot or less). It requires a sense of patience, a very selfless kind of love. Because when our kids hurt WE hurt. And maybe that is it too! We don’t want to experience that pain of rejection or failure either. And at some twisted core of it all – maybe we are protecting OURSELVES just as much or even more than we are protecting our kids. Ouch!

It took me about 8 years of parenting to realize that my child’s failures are not exactly a reflection on me. If they fail to turn in an assignment – it should not mean that child services will be at my house shortly to investigate what the hell is going on in my obviously chaotic and unorganized household. Is THAT part of it too? Paranoia? I mean – honestly – by today’s standards – I would absolutely have been removed from my mother’s care by the court. Now do not mistake me – I am thankful for the many gains we have made as a society in protecting and advocating for children and think we still have a long way to go.

All I am saying is that we sometimes over parent out of fear of what other parents might say, teachers might say – or what we “think” they might say. We over coddle not just out of love for our children to save them from pain and rejection, sometimes we may do it out of selfish fear! Our parent’s generation didn’t quite have that level of paranoia going on. They had that Clint Eastwood tough-as-nails-deal-with-it mentality.

And yes – over the years I have detected some guilt on my father’s part. Sad and grateful eyes and admission that he has no clue how we turned out normal. But I will totally be saying that about my girls too. As a parent – there will always be guilt – one way or another. I think that is in the unwritten by laws of parenting. I learned to accept that awhile ago. I know I am not perfect. I am going to mess up. But that’s part of learning too.

Honestly – I don’t know how right I am on this – I am only relaying some of my own fears and experiences and things or epiphanies I have learned along the way. And no doubt have so much more to learn along the way. I have always said, “My best teachers are my kids”.

All I do know is that I am intentionally trying to back off a little hopefully in the right places, because I don’t want to go to the other extreme so my girls feel like I don’t care or are not there for them. But honestly – that is perception too. There will be a time when they yell at me that I don’t care. And that may mean that they didn’t get the Ipad that they wanted at age 8. So we take these things with a grain of salt.

But at the end of the day I am just incredibly thankful. They are fed, laughing (and sometimes bickering at each other), safe, healthy, and doing some daily chore here and there (and yes sometimes rolling their eyes at having to do them) we are always interacting in some way or another, tickle fights spontaneously erupt, there is a light and sparkle in their eye. There is real effort…sometimes balanced, sometimes over or under done. And when effort isn’t enough – because it never is – there is always forgiveness and most of all…love.

Love is As Love Does

Image

Two of my many Teachers…

 

It just takes some folks longer.  Longer to figure out what love really is…what it really means.  And sadly, it seems that some never really get it.  So it makes me even more incredibly thankful to say – and really mean that I know what love is. 

A week ago as a family we experienced that moment in time – where everything stands still…confusion rules and you hear the unthinkable…Cancer.  Dad has cancer.  What?!?!  Are you sure?!?!  No way…

He spent this last week trying to find out exactly what stage, what his next steps are, what he can expect…just trying to absorb the shock of this grim diagnosis.  And face this monster that also claimed the life of his own father…making it doubly ominous.

My dad is by far one of the strongest men I know.  Not in the “My dad is stronger than your dad” kind of way (but he probably is, so there).  He had a full ride scholarship to UD back in the day as a Linebacker – They even nicknamed him Moose.  And he seems just as strong now as ever.  He was just helping us take down some trees a few weeks ago.

But even bigger and stronger is his sense of loyalty and love.  Like any family – we have had our share of mishaps, misinterpretations and growing pains.  But one thing has remained constant…I have always known my daddy loves me.  So that makes me a lucky girl right there!

Through the years I may have questioned some of his choices…but as is common – when I became an adult and parent myself – forgiveness was granted as I realized – he is human. So I traded my judge gown and gavel for a pair of big girl pants and honest, unyielding smile.

That was only several years ago, sad to say.  It took me nearly 40 years to really get it.  But – at least I did get it.  And ever since then I have had the most honest-open moments with the people I love the most – including dear old dad. 

But, as you may know or have heard…when facing a crisis like this, people become a little more candid…a little more focused on the real…less worried about hurting feelings and just saying what is on their mind.  They don’t have time to waste.  Wake up call time. 

Dad and I were chatting this weekend.  He has never been one to talk on the phone…I would be lucky to get 2 minutes out of him before.  Not this time.

And what he had to say was almost as shocking as the diagnosis…only in the other extreme direction.   Over the course of our conversation he said that I had taught him how to love…how to really love and forgive…and move on…and mean it – unconditionally. 

I had to laugh out loud! I was thinking in my head…Dude – Labrador Reincarnate…you ARE the master…YOU taught ME!  Love is as love does.  I was just doing what he always has taught me – love till it hurts. 

But you see – I have put him through more than his share of worries through my 40 years.  Nearly all of his amazing silvery gray hair (oh how we will miss his unruly Einstein coif) could possibly be attributed to lil’ ol’ me.  Talk about questionable choices…I have made more than my share, again and again…and paid the consequences. 

As a parent – I now understand how you can blame yourself for your children’s pain and struggles.  It is sometimes impossible to separate us from them.  He wishes he could’ve done more, said more, helped more…etc.”. 

So, just as he has some regrets of his own that he has to live with…I have mine.  But, at some point you just have to stop regretting, and start living!  How about I agree to give both you and myself a break, if you do the same?!  Revelation.

Both he and I are Libras.  I don’t put a ton of stock on horoscopes…but I can’t deny some larger character patterns.  We have had our extreme swings from right to left…trying to find our place – weighing all options…yearning for balance.  But it seems we have both found our equilibrium.  How lucky we are to be there at the same time!

He has watched me digging in the dirt, screaming at the sky, grasping for relief from pain and sadness and anger through different times of my life.  But I am so thankful that he also got to watch me transform into this new creature – what I was always meant to be.  Peaceful. 

My name even means peaceful meadow.  5 years ago, you may have thought my name meant something more like hurricane, poisonous porcupine, at war, or tidal wave.  Dad has got to watch me go from prickly, annoying, self-destructive worm to shining (well…mostly), positive and whimsical butterfly…ok – that’s a little much…let’s just settle on goofy moth flying thingy… 

Where I had once harbored resentment and anger, I now focus on forgiveness and contentment. I stopped using my circumstances as a handicap, and shifted my perspective from victim and captive martyr to survivor – free, worthy and full of potential…brand new!   

One of his more questionable moves back in my youth was when he took us all to see the late night showing of Pink Floyd’s The Wall.  He loved PF and thought this was a concert footage movie.  He had no idea how horrific the imagery was.  We laugh about this now.  But how ironic…The Wall.  We have crashed through a wall despite ourselves.  The wall that divides has crumbled in peace. 

Both Dad and I agreed.  Peace is found – somewhere between acceptance and forgiveness.  Life is just too short.  Too short to waste on petty disagreements that left unaddressed can become unmovable mountains of resentment.  People die trying to climb those hills alone. 

Also – you don’t have to love till it hurts.  Love shouldn’t actually hurt…until you have to lose that someone – but even then…there are memories, thankfulness, and hope.  But the act itself of loving…and receiving shouldn’t really hurt.  If it does – maybe a few adjustments are in order.  Usually that means self-perspective adjustments…because if you think you can “fix” anyone, you are in for a surprise. 

We also agreed that you can’t make anyone else see that truth…they have to see it for themselves.  Time spent not loving…is simply time wasted.  You have to surround yourself with positive – likeminded people.  Time wasters will only bring you down…because it is exhausting watching them waste away the hours, days, years.  Just like we once did. 

But no more wasted years for us.  Because Love is – as Love Does. It has no choice but to be…and do.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter who taught who, because there is probably a little bit of truth in both sides.  I am currently an understudy of my two daughters who are teaching more about love than I feel I could ever teach them.  It is an active, living, breathing two-way street…as it should be and will be for as many days, weeks, months, years, or decades as we have. 

I hope you dance

If you have children…and in particular, little girls, then you know that this song is one of the most honest, heart felt songs ever.  It’s exactly what I hope and wish for my own sweet, feisty, amazing little gifts. 

We recently made a small (insert sarcasm here) jaunt to the ocean to visit my mom and sold the long drive to my rambunctious thing 1 and thing 2 with a promise of playing in the ocean. 

They are 10 and 4.  Too soon to be 11 and 5…and I am afraid to blink for missing something.  My little wild goofy girls are everything they should be at this age.  Curious, funny, adorable, trying, frustrating, incredibly sweet, cuddly, beautiful, mischeivious, helpful, distracted, playful, and so many other adjectives…but one thing remains no matter what…they are loved.  Every inch, through and through, inside and out.

So when we finally arrived as promised to the ocean to frolic on the beach and play in the waves, you know this crazy mama was snapping the photos as best as I could between wiping humid ocean mist from the lense. 

And yes, I heard this song playing subconciously to the backdrop of the wild and reckless beauty of my daughters playing like little sea otters and yes – even dancing along the Atlantic’s edge.

When I felt like my camera’s eye got enough fill, I ditched my sony for seashells and joined in the fun. 

It was only one day at the beach…it wasn’t much, but the memory will last for years to come.  In a world where I am bombarded with so much “must haves” of this and that, I was very thankful for the reminder of simplicity.