…and one of its remedies..
There was a time when my son was six months old, and I was weary.
It was a first time mom, haven’t slept in months, dried up soul, end of the proverbial rope, kind of weary.
It wasn’t all due to being a new momma. I was just worn out on life, and there was a significant contrast between the abundance of love that I felt for my son and my dried up world around me. My relationships were strained, my spiritual life was marked with resentment, bitterness and anger.
Anger will wear you out quickly. So will bitterness. Resentment feasts on itself and rapidly moves your body forward in age, but keeps your soul stuck in time.
I longed for the ocean.
I’ve always longed for the ocean, but I was living in the southwest United States, where the Sonoran Desert of Arizona has its own beauty, but, at the time, looked like 100 year old cracked skin to me and felt like a tall glass of blow dryer being tossed in my face every time I stepped outside.
Every part of me wanted to take my baby and put him on a blanket on the beach…to let the sounds of the waves heal us - to let the moisture in the air enliven my skin, and to feel the vitamin D of the sun’s rays permeate me and help me to feel alive again.
The ocean has always called to me. It’s a desperate feeling. It’s a, “I have to get there now, feeling”. It’s a sixth sense that no other physical landscape will satisfy me the way the ocean will, kind of knowing. I would marry the ocean if it would only purpose to me.
And somehow, for my whole life, getting to the ocean has been one of the most difficult things for me to make happen.
It seems that this longing for the ocean and never quite getting there parallels other areas of my life.
I’ve longed for many things that have never come into fruition in my life. Many things have, of course, but so many things haven’t. Significant things. Like a marriage partnership that didn’t end up in divorce. Like a pregnancy that didn’t end up in a mis-carriage. Like my desire to have 4 children. Like my own home that would be the remedy to living in 20 houses by the time I was 20 years old. Like many other things that, if I wrote about here, would expose and hurt too many people, so I’ll stop there.
The opportunity to take my son to the ocean presented itself to me when my son was 6 months old. Finally, we would go to the ocean, and I would rest my soul there. Finally this pull to the water would be satisfied. Finally, I would be able to sit for a day and converse with the ocean and maybe be given answers as to why it calls to me so deeply.
I had called the airline to see if I needed a passport for my son to travel there. No, I was told. He doesn’t need one at his age.
Are you sure? I asked?
Yes, you’re fine.
Maybe if I hadn’t been so sleep depraved, I could have been able to think more thoroughly through it all, I would have gotten him a passport anyway. Just to be safe. But I didn’t. I didn’t think of it.
We got to the airport, hope in hand, and at the ticket counter, the woman told me that they wouldn’t let my son on board without a passport.
Pleading. Warm tears rolling down my face. Confusion. But. But.
But…I was told…
There was nothing I could do. We turned around, and instead of sand on our feet that day, we were looking at another day walking on the dry desert dirt. We too were dried up.
As we found our way back to the car, sobbing, I realized that I wanted to teach my son something real. Even though he was only 6 months old, I would remember this moment one day and share it with him.
We found our way to the local home store. I was in a daze by then. All the tears were done. My face was a swollen aftermath of a moment well cried about.
There was the flower aisle. I pushed him in a cart around the flowers for hours. Really. I pushed him around that place for hours because I didn’t want to go home and face my kitchen sink or my empty bed.
Sometimes, tenderness seeps in.
When we’ve had our moments of anger, of resentment of bitterness that yet another thing that we long for didn’t come to fruition. When Plan A was the only plan, but we are forced to come up with Plan B, it seems that there is always a moment that comes if we wait long enough.
In spite of my own heartache that day, I felt that I needed to show Winslow, my son, that sometimes in life we don’t get what we want, but even so, we can still choose to plant something beautiful.
And finally, we made our way to the checkout counter and bought fresh flowers to plant outside of our front door.
Life got harder for me since that day that we didn’t get to go to the ocean, but my son is 11 now, and we’ve made it this far, and we are just fine.
And a few weeks ago, his grandmother reminded me about that day that we didn’t make it to the ocean. I’m not sure why, but these are the mysteries that I love. It made me think about my upcoming birthday, and someone asked me what I want for the next part of my life.
“I don’t want it to look like the last 20 years, that’s for sure,” I would say.
Even though so many things haven’t gone the way I had hoped in the last 20 years, I choose, in the next 20, to plant something beautiful.
Copyright, 2019, The Writing Season