We are away for a few days this week, by the water, not far from home, but far enough to feel away, which is really really good.
Water soothes my soul, my being, especially big water, vast water. Water so big that you can’t see the other shore. Water so big that it both pummels and massages you, until the rough edges of life are, for a time, worn off, and there is only smooth peace left behind.
Vacationing with children, like most of life, is a completely different animal than vacationing without them. I remember my first real vacation as a mother, when my oldest was about 20 months old. I was, foolishly now it seems, shocked at how un-vacation-like it felt. Unless you have someone else assigned as first responder to your children, especially when small, vacationing with children is really just moving your every day life to another location. You’re still on deck all the time. And so it goes.
But I wasn’t working full time back then, so now, though I’m still on deck (and fortunately, and gratefully, I’m sharing this with a friend, also here with children), it’s a big mental break from the hussle of everyday life. Still cooking, still making sure we all have what we need, still navigating sibling rivalry when it crops up. But there is no schedule to keep, no cleaning to manage except the very basic stuff of everyday life, a lot more time to play, and, magically, a little time to reflect. Not hours of rest, of reading on the big, beautiful porches that come with this gorgeous, antique house I’m fortunate to have use of this week. But time for my mind and heart to settle, to rest in that peace.
Many thoughts tumble through my mind as I unwind, mostly questions. Water, water, I love the water. I want a life where I can engage big water like this regularly, like a close friend and companion. How much is that house for sale down the block, could I make a go of an airbnb from this distance? Did I respond to that email? Am I doing the right things in my divorce, will I feel some relief when it’s said and done? Am I holding my girls enough? This week, yes, but regularly? Do I listen enough, do I really hear them, could I be missing something big? Can I carry some of this ease I feel here back with me, or is it inevitable that I get sucked back into the hustle of life as I know it now?
Most of these questions don’t have answers, at least not yet, (my California friends would fall over if I told them how little that house down the block is actually selling for), but just the time sit with the questions is a gift.
So for now, for these next moments, you’ll find me by the water, near the water, as close and as often as I can be.