There is nothing quite like a long walk on the beach.
I love the feeling of the sand between my toes, the frantic caws of the seagulls overhead, and the lulling sound of the ocean moving in and out. Standing at water’s edge, I let the waves lap at my ankles, and if I’m lucky the sun will be setting just beyond the horizon, melting into the salty water after a long day of lapping the white sands.
And if you’ll let me offer you a metaphor, isn’t that such a beautiful picture of motherhood?
The ebb and flow of these years raising children is like the ocean’s waves. We tumble to the shore, sometimes smoothly and other times with a white-capped crash. There are seasons that are harried and hectic, noisy and tumbling like the waves. We feel all spun up inside with the rush of it all.
Then there are seasons that pull us back, the waves subsiding and offering a brief reprieve before the next wave crashes down.
Sometimes there are storms that threaten to undo us entirely, and other days life is as smooth as glass, still and serene. This is the life of any mother, with the ebb and flow of her days dictated entirely by the small people in her charge. The key is embracing each season, with each of its unique challenges.
Tips for Loving the Season You’re In
1.) Recognize that it’s short
There are seasons of life that seem to stretch long, far beyond our capabilities. We have multiple young ones at our feet, all in desperate need of care and attention. We have older children with busy schedules needing our time and effort to navigate the world around them.
We have teenagers who require all our emotional energy as we pour every ounce of ourselves out for them, and often do so unrecognized.
We have adult children who have strayed from the family, from everything we raised them to know and understand, and we fall to our knees in desperation for their safe return.
Every season brings something new to the table, but no season lasts forever. They will constantly be changing, so embrace the moment right where you are. Embrace the crazy and embrace the calm, always remembering that something new awaits just ahead.
2.) Enjoy the moments that you can
Even in the stormiest seasons of life there’s space for beauty. A smile on your lips in the midst of the crashing waves makes the changing tide seem far more tolerable. You may even find yourself riding the wave, perched on top of it rather than buried beneath.
When the kids are clamoring for your attention and your husband is traveling, look the storm in the face and laugh. Your children will learn to find the joy in life right alongside you.
When the teenagers are testing you at every turn and you feel disconnected from your mate, offer a smile and a kind and gentle word. Bring breakfast in bed and dole out compliments until the people around you settle. This is a chance to dance in the ocean’s rushing tide.
3.) Relax when it’s calm
Dear mom, I see you. I know that you are forever in motion, constantly moving from one task to the next because if you don’t, who will? The house won’t clean itself, dinners won’t magically appear on the table, clothes stay dirty on the floor, and those kids aren’t raising themselves.
Your list of tasks is overwhelming and never ending. I understand, because I’m right there with you. The problem, however, is that if we’re never willing to stop, we miss out on the gentler moments of life. We miss the days when smiling comes easily because the waters of life have calmed for a time.
Running along the beach is nice, but so is sitting. So if we’re going to chase down this metaphor, we should appreciate the beauty in stopping and enjoying the still, glassy waters of a calm day, a calm week, a calm month.
The seasons of life are always changing, constantly moving in and out like the rise and fall of the ocean’s tide. We can lament the unpredictability of it all, or we can jump into the water and choose to enjoy each harried, hectic, serene, and beautiful moment.
What will you choose today?