The warmth on my face and shoulders may have come from the sun, but the warmth in my lap was better. A little boy wrapped in a towel, shivering from the hour he had spent flinging himself with joyful abandon into the not-yet-warm-enough-for-swimming Pacific, warming my legs even through the cool towel. The weight of him: curling into my chest, pulling my arms around him, nestled. Content, for a rare moment, to sit and watch.
The day–the weekend–was a much needed salve to a wounded parenting psyche. The boy is challenging on good days and utterly devastating on bad. I wonder, often, if I’m enough of a parent for him, if I’m just screwing it all up. The tantrums, the defiance, the oh-my-god-if-you-don’t-start-listening-I’m-going-to-lose-my-mind, the battles, the pace…they all make me want to cry from the feelings of incompetence.
It had been a long time since we’d had a good weekend. Moments, hours, maybe even a single day here and there. But some magic dust coated the entire weekend, as sunlight and warm temperatures filtered through the windows and doors. The hours had been filled with family jumpy time in the living room, watching Finding Nemo on the floor exclaiming over DUDE CRUSH again and again, park time. Instead of 100 tantrums a day, we had 10. The whole family enjoyed breakfasts together, lunches, dinners. We were filled with giggles and laughs and smiles and hugs and happy.
That Sunday especially was so pitch perfect, so idyllic, I still wonder if we used up our quota of picturesque on that one day. There were naps in the sun and ticklefests for the whole family. There were high pitched squeals of delight over the simple joy of chasing the dog. There was quiet and still and calm as I enjoyed time to myself while the people and animals dozed.
After, we went to the beach.
Leash in one hand, toddler fingers in the other. Sand between my toes, sun on my face, a breeze whispering across my cheeks.
And then they were off. The dog leaping and frolicking with other dogs. The boy, barreling full-tilt straight into the bracing water, laughing the entire time. This beach has a little inlet where the waves are tamed, making it calmer and more comfortable for a boy of just over 3 feet tall. No fear, no trepidation, just barreling straight for the water. Laughing and laughing and laughing and laughing.
You couldn’t help but laugh with him.
The water was COLD. But he would not be deterred. It was joy, unadulterated enormous all encompassing JOY. And he would not be put off. For an hour, he ran into the water. For an hour, he flew between land and sea and built a castle of joy around all of us.
And then, when he was finally tired and cold, he let me wrap him in a towel and sit him on my lap and he watched the dogs and the water and the people while I watched him. He drank in the beach and I drank in the happiness.No tags for this post.