The sea was much choppier than usual – a rare time in Thailand when surfing is an option. I watched the surfers out there on their surfboards, waiting for the perfect wave; and part of me longed to be out there with them, to re-live what I used to think was the best feeling in the world.
Then I turned around and saw his face. His daddy was lifting him up just in time to miss the crashing wave. Being in the water is his happy place, too, and he cannot even swim yet. And I suddenly realize that everything has changed.
Perhaps there will come a time again when I will prefer to be out there in the deep water, sailing off cliffs and climbing mountains. A wonderful season of my life which I will never regret.
But for now, my life is here in the shallow waters…pointing out crabs, trying to find the perfect shells, and digging holes in the sand.
I could spend my days longing to be “back” there, or I can simply open the door and go outside to enjoy the season that is. We live in a beautiful place, and the sky is still the limit. Just because you have to carry diapers and plenty of wet-wipes along, it doesn’t mean you cannot go “out” there anymore.
Parenthood is a different kind of adventure. It’s so tempting to just lie there and wait for the “perfect wave” instead of learning how to ride the VERY imperfect wave right in front of you.
The only difference between climbing Kilimanjaro and raising a toddler is the view. Most of the time – even in the middle of life’s greatest adventures – the best you can do is to keep on taking one step at a time.
There will be many mini-triumphs and a fair share of disasters, but the best way to miss out on any adventure is to allow fear to prevent you from trying.
Sometimes it takes a different kind of brave to get out and go places, even to the local supermarket: you have to get up, get everyone dressed and fed, and then get in the car and buckled up even before the journey begins.
It also takes courage to let your kids explore and give them freedom to try things by themselves while you stand by, knowing you’ll have to clean up the mess afterwards. Maybe this is the new standard for endurance training.
Perhaps the greatest gift we can give our children in this life is to help them realize and enjoy their God-planned-adventures. The beauty of creation is waiting to be explored around every corner, and great discoveries are waiting to be made in the middle of what others would see as “ordinary”.
Maybe the best thing we can do for ourselves is to find our adventure again in the middle of a story where we may no longer feel like the main character. We need to seek the hidden treasure of not taking ourselves too seriously and allow ourselves the freedom to get lost all over again in silly games, books, and songs.
For all I know, I will be out there in the waves again one day, looking back at the mommies playing with their little ones on the shore. And I hope that as look back at them, I will also be able to look back to this season of my life without regrets.