A Family Beach Day, A Day in Photos

A family beach day is so cleansing to the soul. Sometimes, words aren’t necessary when the photos tell their own story. This is one of those occasions, and I’ll enjoy this photo journal for years to come! Random thoughts from a mom after a day at the beach.

family beach day

Sometimes, just letting them enjoy each other’s space is enough.

family beach day

And most of the time, just letting them be them…well, it’s enjoyable for both of you. I dig his style!

family beach dat

Bubbles! What’s a beach day without bubbles? What’s any good day without bubbles, actually?

beach family day

A day without bubbles is like a day without a beach ninja. I mean, it’s not even really a day, is it?

family beach day

The only sad part of the day is when you look through the lens and realize they might be growing up too fast. It all goes by too fast. Until…

family beach day

You realize that one of them is looking back at you, from inside of a sand hole, enjoying life like only a small child can, and you realize that there are still many years of joy, and frustration, to come. Be still my heart!

b burying kylee edit

And then there’s this. THIS is the beginning of a memory in the making, with a man that you adore making memories with.

beach family

It ended way worse than this, of course, but I was too busy unburying my baby (face and all) to get a photo. Sometimes, like this time, it’s not OK to just sit back and be the spectator…because…buried alive?!?!

beach family

And just when you realize you’re absent from your own online album, all of your family photos, you see that you were there all along. In their reflection. Capturing every moment. While they looked adoringly at you, and you realize you’re doing exactly what you were meant to do all along. Take care of them, love them, enjoy the moment, and capture the memories in their reflection while they reflect on the love that you give them.

In the end, that’s all that matters. The memories, their love, capturing their beauty. When you realize you’re doing what you love…while you’re watching the ones you love the most…enjoy themselves? That’s when you know you’ve made it. That’s when you know your life, your world is complete. That’s the moment you realize you’re living the life you intended, the life you’ve always wanted to live. That’s when you know love.

I know all of these things, and I’m glad my camera reminds me daily. I’ve made it. I’m happy to be in their reflections. I’m just happy. Not everyone achieves that level of success in life. I’m content that I’ve found my success from within my own little world.

Are you?

The Storm Will Pass. The Spring Will Come.

Spring is a time of new beginnings for all of us. Never make rash decisions based on the winter storm’s events. The storm will pass. The spring will come. Embrace the warmer weather. Embrace the blooming flowers. Embrace what you love the most and be the change.

The Storm Will Pass. The Spring Will Come.

Every spring, I seem to re-evaluate my life. I guess we all do.The storm will pass. What changes can I make in this world, to my life, to make it a better place? I’m often tempted to throw in the towel and just give up after braving the winter storms. I think we all are. Being cooped up, both literally and figuratively, makes us all feel that way at some level, I guess. That overwhelming feeling of, is this really all working out for me, is it all worth it, kind of gets to you, you know? I know you know.

So, what do you do?

Do you throw in the proverbial towel and just decide that the struggles aren’t worth it anymore and start anew with a whole new life? I mean, we’re all getting old (as we read my dribble), so is it all still worth the fight? Are the struggles really worth the pay off? Would it be easier to just start over, just like the flowers in spring?

Or do we take the lead from the most beautiful season that nature has to offer? Do we just stay where we are and enjoy, and nurture, the rebirth of the new season in our lives? Do we just grow back, annually, despite the diversity?

I choose to stay. I choose to bloom. Again. Because my life isn’t always beautiful, but overall, it’s a beautiful life.

My family, my marriage, has a lot of struggles. We’re human. We make mistakes. We all make mistakes. Forgiveness, rebirth, and remembering what matters the most is what keeps us all going in life. I take my strength from the season of growth. Springtime.

The flowers are blooming. The weather is heating up. There’s a freshness in the air. There’s a freshness in my step too. This time, unlike the spring epiphanies I’ve had in the past, I plan to keep that freshness alive.

I don’t know how much time I have left on this earth. None of us do. I’m embracing spring. I’m embracing life. I’m embracing an awakening in myself, my marriage, my family.

This year, the only spring cleaning I’m going to do is from within. The cobwebs can wait.

My family comes first. They’ve always come first, but I forget to tell, show them enough. No more forgetting to tell them that they come first. No more forgetting them because I have just ONE MORE task to complete. No more putting them off. No more skipped biked rides. No more ‘in a minute’ or ‘we’ll see’ replies. No more forgetting them.

Ever.

Hello spring! I’ve missed you and I’m ready to make the change.

The storm has passed (for good). The spring has come. I’m happy, I feel playful (for the first time in 100 springs), and I’m ready to never cut down a tree again.

Dear Step Son, You’re Right, Today You’re an “Equal”

Being a “step” parent is rough. Today, after reading a dissertation of a text from my 18-year-old step son last night, I realized that I don’t treat him as an “equal” to my own kids. Today, everything will change, for him, and I hope he’s happy that he’ll actually finally have to follow rules for the first time in his life.

matt cozumel

Dear 18-year-old step son,

I’m sorry. I read your 500-word text to your dad last night (yes, he showed me, you knew he would) and I can’t say I disagree with you. You’re right. We do NOT treat you as an equal to our “real” kids. You live by different rules. You are treated differently. In fact, you are treated way differently. Thanks for pointing it out so that I don’t have to anymore. You did us all a favor and, thanks to you, your life will change today and you’ll finally be “equal”.

You see, my “real” kids have a lot of rules. They live on a budget (yes, a budget, we’re not made of money). That’s why we have stuff. We work hard, I budget our money, we get stuff. Like that cruise you just went on? Yea, that didn’t pay for itself. I did. With my budgeted savings. You’re welcome, even though you never said thank you.

But back to the inequality.

You aren’t treated as an equal. You’re treated way better than them in fact. You’re treated like a king, actually, and I’m sorry you felt the need to point that out because it’s about to change, for you, today. You’re welcome. I do listen to you even though you think I don’t.

You see, my “real” kids are expected to come home from school daily, right after school, and do their homework, eat dinner when it’s put on the table between 5:00 and 6:00 every night, then to sit as a family before bedtime. You don’t have to do that, right? Sorry, I should have required that of you instead of allowing you to skip school, not do your homework, let you go to the skate park, then come home at whatever time you’d like and eat dinner before (or after) I put it up. I should have put my foot down, as I would have with my “real” children before I allowed you to mess up the kitchen after I cleaned it up. I should have put my foot down when you took those 45 minute showers, twice a day, when I politely asked you not to. I should have, I could have, I will, starting today because I want you to be “equal”.

My “real” kids get exactly three drinks per day. One with breakfast, one with lunch, one with dinner. Sorry the open fountain will be closed for you starting today too, but it’s all in the name of equality. You’re welcome.

And speaking of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, that’s about to be equal too. I did the math, and I spend exactly $3.00 on both of the babies for breakfast and lunch daily, combined. That’s right, a total of $3.00, that’s $1.50 each. They eat breakfast at home (because I make them get up early enough to do that), a Pop Tart or a bowl of cereal. That’s 50 cents a piece. They bring their lunch. Literally, $1.00 each per day for lunch. You’re smart, do the math.

How much do you spend?

FORTY DOLLARS PER WEEK…on breakfast and lunch. Way more than your dad and I spend weekly, together. Sorry we’ve been so unfair to you.

A breakfast burrito costs $2.50. Your coffee costs $1.00. Your double lunch costs $4.oo. Your extra cookies cost $1.00. That’s $8.50 per day. That’s $42.50 per week. Then there’s dinner. That dinner I cook from scratch. All day, every day. I’m sorry we’ve been so unfair. I’m sorry “our” kids have it so much better than you.

I’m here to rectify that. Starting tomorrow, well really Monday morning, you have exactly $20 going into your school account per week. That’s way more than “my” kids get, more than double their combined daily allowance in fact. Consider yourself lucky and thank you for pointing out “your” inequalities. I feel like I’m winning. Anything you want beyond your double lunch, get a JOB.

You can eat breakfast at home like they do. Get up on time. It’s all about equality.

You don’t need coffee and cookies. If you do want them, get a JOB. We’re all equals here…now.

Oh, and the lying. That won’t fly anymore either. If “my” kids lie, they get punished. The end. You do not. You’ve skipped school a total of 23 periods this year (I have letters from the school…stop lying). Kylee wouldn’t be allowed out of her room if she’d done that. I’m sorry I was so unfair to you (her) by fussing at you about that and thinking that perhaps you should be grounded. Shame on me for being so unfair.

Speaking of that job, everyone on the island is hiring. Everyone. Always. Stop coming home (5 months after you were told to get a job – that you were required to have when you lived at “home”) saying no one is hiring. I could get a new job tomorrow morning. So can you. This time, all sarcasm aside, I’m sorry I’ve been so lenient and haven’t held you to the standards that I hold “my” children to. GET A JOB.

So, in summation, we’re finally all “equal”. You get $20 for food at school this week, and every week thereafter, which is more than double what “my” kids get, combined. Use is wisely. If you don’t like that, we have breakfast at home and lunches you can bring. You’re welcome. You need to get a job for the extras. Again, jobs are plentiful here on the island. Look, you’ll see. My “real” older children were held to this standard when they lived here and they got them within two days, not six months. You’re welcome for the extra time…months…you were afforded. I’m sorry we have rules (I’m not), I’m sorry that I will now hold you to their rules (I am not).

Thank you for pointing out the inequalities around here. Thank you for telling your dad. Thanks for the money and aggravation savings. Thank you for the dissertation via text. You saved me a lot of words. I appreciate you.

With love,

Your “all about equality” step mom,