Friday, July 9, 2010

Beach Bawl

I sat at the edge of the water the other day - playing at the beach on Hilton Head Island, watching the littles in the water.

Seth (7) and I came to HHI with the Zipps, while the rest of the family was at home (Sean and the dogs) and at church camp (Alexx and Joel).

As I was taking in the absolutely perfect day - reading a book, sitting in the sand, kids frolicking in the surf - I couldn't have been more relaxed, more content. These are the moments we moms work so hard for - the times we realize it is all worth the stress, the tears, the sweat, blood, and dead brain cells that are left in the wake of repopulating the earth with the best little humans that we can raise with our limited abilities.

I was basking. I don't bask - in anything. Ever. No time, not nearly enough peaceful moments to get anywhere near the zip code of basking. It was so oddly fulfilling. I felt like God was patting me on the back, giving me a high-five.

And I heard a faint sound; a sound that was coming closer. Lifting my hand to shield the sun, I turned my face upward - just above the shore line where we sat peacefully - to see a military helicopter flying very low, parallel with the shore.

People around me waved. Some "WooHoo!"ed. It is July 4th week; they have just been reminded of what our country stands for and the people who continue to make our freedom possible. We just celebrated America's birthday. A sense of pride swelled in the actions and whoops of those around me.

First a small catch in my throat, then a full-blown choking feeling. On my own tears and fear. All I could selfishly think of was my 19-year-old son, who will be entering the Marines - and plans on going into Force ReCon, arguably one of the most dangerous routes for him. And it's what he wants.

We will not see him. Not hear from him. Have no idea where he is.

Tears flowed beyond my new pink sunglasses, stinging my sunburned face. My shoulders shook. I put my book up in front of my face until I felt like I was composed enough. I must have looked half crocked, had anyone looked my way. But of course, I was just one in a crowd on a hot beach. Just another mama making sure the kids didn't drown or do something stupid. No one cared what I was doing. In a way, I was alone.

Realizing this, I let myself have the moment. I cried; bawled, actually. This time, I basked in my right to view that helicopter as a mother, not just a proud American. Was God patting me on the back now? This didn't feel like a high-five. It felt like a punch in the gut.

The ugly cry. On the beach. It made my contacts blurry and my heart heavy. I gave myself five minutes to get over it.

And I did. This is the stuff life is made of, and you have to get over it. And live through it. Even make the most of it.

Today is the last day of this Mommy/Seth vacation. So we are going to make the most of it and spend the day together - exploring, having fun, discovering, watering the roots of our special relationship so they will continue to grow and strengthen.

I will bask while I can.


  1. When your home let's bask and cry together:) Love you.

  2. Bless your heart. I can't even imagine what you're feeling with Alexx. Praying for you!