Motherhood and the Ocean

IMG_6009-001Several months ago I was thinking of writing a blog post called “Life Without a To-Do List.” It’s not that I don’t have one. It’s just that I don’t exactly have time to look at it most days. But then last night I had this idea, which I think might express it better.

Being a mother is like standing on the beach, looking out at the ocean. And having the cutest, sweetest, and happiest baby in your arms. (Seriously, Micah laughed with glee for five minutes straight last night when his Daddy got home from work.) You watch the waves come in, and every one brings in a new crop of beautiful seashells. Those seashells are things you want to do, things you used to do, and they sparkle and glitter in the sunlight. You want to gather them up, but you have a baby in your arms. Every now and again you can grab one, but it requires a deft move, and you can only grab the smallest one–usually it’s cooking dinner or making a birthday card.

As each wave comes in, you make a mental list of the shells–the things you’ll add to your to-do list, which is mostly a fun list. You might grab one shell, but then a new wave comes right in, bringing new shells that make you forget about the ones that were already there. As the wave rolls back out to sea, the shells are washed in every direction on the sand, mixing them all up.

In order to gather them all, you’d have to put the baby down and pull up your skirt to use as a damp and sandy bag for them. But you’re busy looking into sweet blue eyes and rubbing the softest head of blonde hair you’ve ever felt. You’re listening for coos and cries and shrieks of baby glee. Each night you head back home from the beach to sleep, and you leave the shells behind, gleaming in the moonlight. “Oh yeah,” you think, “I was going to go the library. And I wanted to finish knitting that blanket.” But you leave these shells for tomorrow.

Each day, like each wave, brings new shells, and you admire them, even though you can’t reach for them, not just yet. You can’t complain because you are so very happy. You’re at the beach, watching the ocean, tasting the salt in the air, smiling at someone you love more than you can even comprehend. Those shells will still be there when he’s walking and talking and ready to collect them with you. Until then, collect some for me. Enjoy them, just as I’m enjoying this sweet baby time.

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