Posted on May 15 2012

a day at the beach

A couple nights ago we got Jack a new pair of sunglasses.  His first inclination was to not take them off.  His second was to head immediately to the beach.  Smart kid.  Trying to explain to a two-year-old that we had to head home because it was bedtime, thus too late for a trip to the beach, was like…well, just like you’d expect explaining “no” to any two-year-old would be.  I said we could go the next day, and we reached bedtime with minimal tears.  Jack woke up and immediately asked where his sunglasses were – we couldn’t get to the beach soon enough.  I wasn’t going to change the plan, but every little task on my to-do list seemed to get bold and italicized, and were getting larger every time they caught my eye as I was packing up towels and sunscreen.

And so we escaped to the beach.  Away from technology and things that need to get done.  It was so nice to step away and have a quiet day just thinking about what I’m doing, and why I’m doing it.  It was nice to prioritize things, and figure out where I wanted to scale things back and just what I wanted to be putting more energy into.  I tend to think big, so after a first successful week at the farmers’ market, my thoughts were immediately drawn to having a physical location, all while planning just what I want to do once I am done with this cookbook project I’ve got going on here.  This blog means so much to me, and trying to plan out the next step is very important to me.  I’ve also got an amazing writing project in the works with a couple of my friends, which is something I’ve been pouring into for the past couple months, and plan to continue to do so, um, forever.

All this being said, all these projects are side projects.  My main gig is staying home with our little dude.  Balancing it all seems like more than I can handle some days.  Doing everything perfectly, while desirable, just isn’t in the cards.  We moved back to Michigan so we could set up this life for ourselves where we were doing what we wanted to be doing, and sometimes I feel like I should be doing everything (literally, everything!) I want to be doing.  I want to stay home with Jack, I want to be writer, a blogger, a beekeeper, have a beautiful garden, have a little bakeshop that serves brunch on Sundays, have chickens, make delicious meals, have a booth at the farmers’ market, train for another half marathon…The list could go on, really.  And while I can do, and even am doing a lot of that stuff, I realize I don’t have to do it all.  If I want to be doing things well, I shouldn’t be doing it all.  Maybe I will keep bees when I am fifty.  Maybe I’ll never have chickens of my own, or will never have a huge garden.  I have friends with chickens and gardens!

Dreaming big is definitely something that’s in me, but I am all about learning it’s okay to not do it all.  At least, do it all right now.  Right now, it’s important to have days where we spontaneously head to the beach, and we have the entire beach to ourselves!  The coldness of the water meant nothing to Jack as he splashed through the small waves in search of rocks, screaming this mantra over and over, “I’m having so much fun!  I’m so exited, mama!  The water is so much fun!”  Seriously, he repeated that over and over.  He’s never done that at the grocery store, or watching me fold laundry.  That’s for sure.  He also said “So much cold!” a few times.  I’d ask him if he wanted to get out of the water, and he’d smile and scream, “No way!”

We got home, sandy and tired, and Jack told Dan he saw a big boat, he spotted a whale, played in the water, saw pirates and had “so much fun”!  We saw no whale, but we did see a huge boat that looked like a pirate ship.  Even though there was a tantrum trying to pull that boy away from that beach, I left feeling like I was in a good spot with the stress I’ve been feeling lately.  Lake Michigan is pretty magical, and has all the answers.  If you’re ever in the area, I’d recommend it.  National Geographic would too, actually.

Congratulations, you’ve made it through my longest, rambling post.  Thanks.

  1. Anne says:

    Lovely. You have all kinds of time to do all those other things. Jack will only be So Much little for a short while. Scratch those itches in easier ways now, and they’ll have their own time down the road. OK, itches and roads don’t really make an elegant metaphor, but I think you know where I’m going with it. In any case, you’re rocking all of it pretty hard.

  2. Amber says:

    I live so close to Lake Michigan I can walk there. It just sucks being on the other side of the lake.

  3. Jena says:

    Lovely. I could not agree more. I live (in Chicago) down the street from Lake Michigan. Whenever I need to clear my mind, collect my thoughts, think things through I go to the water. There is really nothing like it.

  4. SarahD says:

    Thanks for the reminder to do less… in order to do more. Our lives feel so busy right now and what I really want to do is watch my kids squeal with delight while playing in the water. I guess that did happen in the backyard a few nights ago with a hose but it is not the same as Lake Michigan. I am feeling the need to slow down, do less and be a lot more present. Word.

  5. Lee Finlay says:

    I miss Michigan!! I used to live in Buchanan, not far from Three Oaks and the beach. I live in PA now and miss my dunes AND being able to buy wine at the grocery store. What a nice, mindful post. Thank you for reminding me to just slow down and enjoy NOW!

  6. cindy says:

    I love this kind of post, I think it resonates with so many peoples lives…even those of us that don’t have kids (yet!). I’m new to Michigan and I haven’t made it to a beach yet, but I am scheming up a plan for my birthday/wedding anniversary next month.

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