I fancy myself to be a bit of a treasure hunter. It’s true. I am always certain I am about to discover some previously undiscovered fortune. (I think it’s why I have a strange addiction to Goodwill stores.) Anyway, today, we took our younger sons to the beach. Now, at the beach I am always on the lookout for lost jewelry, money, gold coins from long ago pirates (which would be weird because we live in Illinois.) Today, pirate booty seemed sparse, so we spent time looking for sea glass. It was such a beautiful day. A perfect summer day. The kind of day where I wanted grab hold of the moments and store them away in my memory: my kids helping me gather stones and build sand castles, the sound of their rough-housing, their laughter as they went into the subfreezing waters of Lake Michigan.
I was imprinting this day onto my heart.
I noticed something, though. I noticed how many parents around me were on phones, turned away from their kids, disconnected. A little boy not far from us literally had to say “Daddy, Daddy, DADDY.. watch me..” every time he found a cool stone, buried his feet, or dumped a bucket of water over his head.. “Dad! I dumped the water over my head, and DAD! I put rocks in the bucket and DADDY they didn’t even hit me, not one! DADDY!”.. Dad was on his phone. On my other side, a mom gathered her young kids together for a photo and then preceded to ignore them as she loaded the photo on social media (I know that’s what she was doing because her daughter asked for help burying her sister in the sand. Mom said she couldn’t because she was putting the photo on Facebook. Checked out. Disconnected. Not present.
And let me tell you, moms and dads, anyone willing to listen.. I am not judging. I have been there too; way too often. Distracted by my own agenda, concerned with things outside the moment I was meant to be in.
So, no, this isn’t about condemnation, it’s about treasure. Becoming a military mom has taught me SO much. I look back and consider days gone by and I am amazed at how the years gained speed as they went along. I am so thankful for the times I treasured. Memories of days like today become more valuable than rubies, or gold, or..sea glass! It all goes so fast, and, moms and dads, you don’t know, ever, how many moments you will have. Don’t pass up a treasure that is right in front of you! Gather it close and hold tight. The days fly! Stay present. Turn off the phone. Enjoy the beach. Watch the expressions on your kids faces. Memorize the sound of their laughter. Sit in the sand with them.
Post the photos later.