An Unexpected Gift
I’ve never been one to make New Year’s Resolutions. Although this is the time of year for them, this is not a post about my resolutions for the coming year.
Instead, it is a post about an unexpected gift. About making time for what is important. And about how important it is to begin today.
Not tomorrow. Not Monday. Not January 1st.
It started with my birthday a few weeks ago. Just as I’ve never been one to make New Year’s Resolutions, I have also never been good about spending the money I receive as a gift. I’m just not a shopper. And I have an even tougher time spending money on myself.
But for some reason, this year was different. I received some money from my mom for my birthday, and, completely out of character, told her right away what I was going to do with it. My boys have been saying forever that I should get a wetsuit, but I have just never gotten around to it. In all honesty, I think I have been putting it off because not having one has given me an excuse as to why I can’t go in the ocean when it’s cold.
But I decided to buy a wetsuit. I purchased it last week, and it hung in the closet for a few days. No one knew I had it. Until we were getting ready to go down to the beach yesterday and I walked out with it on. My boys faces lit up and they started jumping up and down. They were so excited, and couldn’t wait for us to run into the ocean.
I have to admit, I was a bit nervous. It’s December, and the ocean is far from warm this time of year. It’s the Pacific after all. It’s never warm. Even with a wetsuit, I feared I’d be cold.
But I took a deep breath and raced into the water with them. I spent the next two hours out there and it flew by like minutes. Paddling on the SUP. Getting lessons from my boys on how to use the board. Floating in the water, talking and laughing, waiting for the next wave. Every time I caught a wave, I found myself grinning from ear to ear all the way back to the sand. By boys told me over and over how awesome it was to have me out there with them, and how fun it was to be able to teach me something when it seems the tables are always reversed.
We were right back at it today. Paddling our boards over to the “big island”. Passing a ball back and forth in water over our heads. Catching wave after wave together, riding side by side and laughing the entire way. It was so. much. fun.
Over the years, I’ve spent countless hours watching my boys from the sand, pumping my fist in the air each time they catch a great wave, replying “Yes!” over and over again as they shriek “Did you see that one?!?”, and taking countless photos. All the while having no idea what I was missing out on.
This time, I don’t have any photos to share with you. But I’m more than good with that. You see, I’m always the one behind the lens, capturing images of the fun being had so I can be sure to “remember” those moments for years to come. For the past two days, though, I’ve been right there in the middle of the action. And I have loved every minute. I didn’t think once about the list of “to dos” I had waiting for me at home. Or how it might be getting late and we should be heading home. Or worried that I might not remember the moment if I didn’t take a photo to document it.
I just lived in the moment. It was amazing, and I can tell you without a doubt that I plan to do it again tomorrow.
Do you know the best part? I guarantee that, although there are no photos to document them, I will remember these moments for the rest of my life.
I thought this gift would simply keep me warm. Far from it, it has served as a much needed reminder that wellness isn’t just about the food we eat. Yes, we need to nourish our bodies by eating a healthy diet. But we also need to nourish our souls.
This gift has helped me reconnect with my boys in a way I didn’t even realize I was missing or craving. Until now. You see, as the years have gone by and they’ve become increasingly more independent, our relationship has changed and I’ve slowly begun to feel less connected. Until yesterday, I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed just playing with them.
Thank you Mom, for giving me the most wonderful gift. For helping me find my way back into the action. And for your part in reminding me of what is important. The wetsuit was my gift. But something tells me that, if you ask them, my boys will say this gift was better than any of the Christmas gifts they found under our tree this year.
Who would have ever thought that a bit of neoprene could bring such joy? Such a sense of connection? Hours of fun? And the most amazing memories?
My boys absolutely love being in the ocean. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for a gift that has granted me the opportunity to share in what they love.
I hope your holiday season is rich in unexpected gifts that nourish your soul as well. That you are able to pause long enough to recognize them for the gifts they are. And that you make time today to fully enjoy them.