It was five o’clock. I was standing at the kitchen sink, only just starting on breakfast dishes. I was exhausted and hungry after a full day of playgrounds, walks, bike rides, and errands and appointments that did not go as expected (like getting to the register at the grocery store only to realize I had nothing with which to pay). I was already contemplating that mom-enough-no-guilt-move of turning on a show so I could take a nap. Then, in a moment between soaping dishes, I looked over and saw Nora, her fist griping three fat preschool crayons — red, orange, yellow — scribbling thick lines and curves up and down the wall in triplicate.
I almost lost it.
“Stop!” I barely managed not to yell. Instead, I thought of the patience meditation I had read about not five hours earlier, took a deep breath and thanked the heavens for washable crayola crayons (for not the first time), and explained why we don’t color on walls even if “fire is beautiful.” As I wiped crayon the color of my emotions from the wall, Nora skipped off to her room. She was back not five minutes later dressed in a purple bathing suit and a floaty.
“Let’s go to the beach,” she said. I thought for a moment about how much I just wanted to close my eyes, how I had no desire for wet and sand or hauling a preschooler and bags of gear across dunes. I thought about saying no. I wanted to say no. I almost said no, and then for some reason a part of me thought, just maybe I could rally.
I texted a friend. I heated up quick leftovers for dinner. I packed the basics and headed out to the beach.
I am so glad I did.
This evening, I was reminded of how important it is to look inside us for energy, even when we think there’s none, and to rally. In the morning when we’re tired; in the evening when it barely feels possible to hold the evening together. No matter what’s holding me back, 95% of the time, I end up glad that I worked up the motivation and made the effort. Tonight was no exception.
Tonight, sandy and salty, in the company of friends, watching the sun sink into the ocean completely made up for everything tough about today.
All because a little girl asked to go to the sea.