Saturday, August 13, 2011

A life in progress

Today at the beach I couldn't help but watch a few young girls in their early 20's who were sitting right near me at the beach.

I was by myself with the kiddos, dragging my 200lbs of crap across the sand, while Charlotte hung off of my hip and I kept yelling at gently reminding Liam that he was not to run into the water before he got sunblocked up.

These girls were all pretty, tanned and in bikinis with their nice sunglasses. All they had to carry was one towel and a summer Coach tote. They chatted with each other about when they got in the night before and when so and so was planning to meet them out that night.

I saw them looking at me in a "oh look at those cute babies, someday I can't wait to dress my own kids in cut bathing suits and show them off at the beach" kind of way. I know they wondered why I was alone with the kids on a Saturday. I am sure they checked to see if I had a wedding ring, and if so what it looked like. They watched at I spent hours chasing Liam, building sand castles and running around with two kids in the waves.

They seemed nice. they gave the kids the obligatory smiles and hellos. They didn't seem annoyed when Charlotte cried.

As I observed them I couldn't help but think of my own life. I WAS a girl just like that not all that long ago. A girl who came to the Cape with her friends and smiled at babies and who dreamed of my own future.

What I didn't understand back then is how life is never, ever exactly how you imagine it to be. At 23 I am pretty sure that the image I had of how my Saturdays on the beach would be, did not include that my husband would be absent from the picture because he had to work all weekend long to make up for the wages he lost being a stay at home dad. I know that at 23 I didn't think I would have to work so hard at staying healthy (because at 23 I was skinny and had a good body without being healthy). And I am certain that I had no clue how exhausting it is to bring my beautiful babies to the beach.

I also know that at 23 I was clueless about what would REALLY bring me joy. I used to envy the moms on the beach who had 2 beautiful babies, a brand new Volvo SUV, a giant diamond, a killer body, and got to stay at home all year without any worries about money.

Now I realize that nothing is as it seems. If anyone has ALL of that, it didn't come for free. Once you have kids, and get older you have to work HARD to be healthy and look good.The material objects come with a price of their own. It might mean a husband who is never home because of the demands of his job, or one who is really sleeping with his secretary and gives his wife fancy things to keep her "happy." I also realize that staying home all year with the kids is fabulous, but not totally realistic for most people.

At 23 I had an picture in my head of the life I would have. Some of it came true. I have beautiful babies and a great looking husband who loves me and who is fun and funny. I get to spend my summers on the beach and I do stay home with my kids for part of the year. I am working on the health/ body stuff and doing the best I can and I am learning to be a better and healthier person.

So what if my husband and I share a beat up old Ford. I would love a fancy pair of sunglasses, but odds are my daughter would pull them off my face and break them. And I would much rather get to take my kids on fun trips, then have a huge diamond any day.

I miss my husband so much when he has to work, but I cherish the times we have together. I would rather give up every material thing I have, then have my husband go back to a job where he barely saw his kids.

My life is certainly a work in progress, but I can honestly say I am happy. When I watched those young girls, I couldn't help but smile and think about the person I used to be. I loved that part of my life. But it is nice to have come to a point where I am no longer wondering when my life will begin. It might not be exactly what I expected, but life is pretty good.

1 comment:

  1. SO TRUE.. I was just talking about this yesterday.. gone are the days where I pack a towel, a book and run down to the beach. I will instead be scanning the water and listening to,
    "HEY MOM, LOOK AT ME!!!!" for the next 12 years.