Summer Blowout

In case you missed it, we have had a couple of things going on in Texas over the past few weeks. Consequently, we are starting school a bit later than originally scheduled.

In a strange yet wonderful miracle of the universe, my husband suggested that we go to the beach for the day. He’s an amazing dad without question and will gladly take us wherever we want to go (and if not gladly, we never hesitate to combine our mom and kid superpowers of dramatic pouting and loud endless begging until we irritate him into caving to our whims). He just doesn’t tend to suggest taking day trips. Ever. Even the kids didn’t believe me when I said that it was his idea, but of course, we were all game for the plan.  We just wanted a “normal” day.

Driving down to the coast led us to newly familiar unfamiliar sights. We saw caravans of military trucks. There were mountains of demolition and refuse piles flanking the storefronts. Signs flashed messages of gratitude for volunteers and told us that we were Texas Strong. We didn’t need the reminders, but I appreciated the sentiment. We became a unified front committed to helping each other over the past few weeks, and we will continue to stand together once the evidence of the storm has long faded from view.

When we arrived at the beach, the kids jumped out of the car and dashed for the waves. I’m panicky on a good day and perpetually hear John Williams conducting the theme to “Jaws” in my head whenever my children put a single toe in the water. As a bonus, our beaches are blessed with alligators and rattlesnakes, too. (Given that our backyards already have those, we don’t sweat them too much.) But I wasn’t worried about the sharks (as much) this time around. I was hyper focused on Hurricane Irma’s gift from afar to our local beaches. Rip tides – the treacherous invisible currents that knock you off your feet and carry you helplessly to the ocean away from your mama. Kinda like “Moana” but minus The Rock, the singing, or the happy smiley conclusion.

Anytime the kids would step into water that went above their knees, I would start barking like a madwoman for them to come closer to the shore. My husband thought that I was absolutely bananas (nothing new there). This struck me as bitterly ironic given that he doesn’t like for our daughters to sleep in shirts that have sequins because he feels like they may be choking hazards. Yes. Sequins. He sees them as fashion’s hat tip to danger. But rip tides?  Ah that’s silly child’s play.

I did not like that.

Thankfully, I was not to remain incessantly worried for long. Ok that’s not true. Not in the slightest actually. I worried incessantly, so the crazy woman screaming for them to get back closer to shore never stopped. But I did get moderately distracted.

A nice SUV with out of state plates parked on the sand next to us. I won’t name the state, but I will tell you that it rhymes with Markansaw. A family of forty-five people poured out of the car and ran happily to the water. They loved it! I believe that it was their first time to any beach ever. You could tell by the way they all jumped in the waves with sheer joy and giggled with delight like small children as the spray coated their faces. You could also tell because they went in fully clothed. I’m not talking t-shirts and shorts (although that ensemble was represented). I mean long pants, long skirts, socks, and shoes. Maybe you don’t have a bathing suit with you, or maybe you don’t have one at all.  No judgement. I just thought that maybe you might wanna roll some of that up or possibly remove your socks and shoes before entering the water.

I couldn’t help but watch the show and had to work very hard to suppress my own laughter when they carried their drippy socks and shoes back to the car before heading once more to the waves. As funny as it was to see, it was also wonderful watching them enjoy life fully in their own wacky style.  Some people mystify me, but I can’t help but love them anyway – especially when they just own their oddity completely and totally.

And that brings me to my son. As we were preparing to leave hours later, my husband nudged me in the arm and said, “You wanna talk about that?” while pointing in the direction of our boy.  I glanced his way and immediately noticed his backside staring back at us through the massive ripped hiney of his suit. It was like a hospital gown for the beach. I don’t know how long the moon had been out, but there it was shinin’ away. We wrapped him in a towel and pointed out the end of summer blowout he was sporting. He was about as worried as a pet rock. Boys – argh!!! So we loaded Senor Godiva and his siblings into the truck and headed home.

It wasn’t a fancy day.  Nothing earth shattering happened. No one was gobbled up by sharks or sucked under by rip tides nor were we assaulted by dangerous sequins lurking in the every closet belonging to a female in our home (yet…). I couldn’t help but glance at the weather radar for the hurricanes on the move, and I still worried about those in their paths.  But it sure was nice to feel like life was moving along and that we could end the summer with a smile or two.

I hope that everyone experiences these little moments of magic with those whom they care about. I also hope that all of you come to the beach fully clothed and jump in the water next to our crew.  That s@#& was plain funny.

Best wishes for a beautiful week for all of you.



It Does Matter

We are being pummeled by terrible news.  It’s heavy duty stuff.  Hurricanes and more hurricanes, earthquakes, massive fires, terrorism, and on and on and on.  I understand when I hear someone say that they feel helpless to do anything because there’s just too much to do.  It’s exhausting, and it’s overwhelming.

But do something good for someone else anyway.

There’s an amazing person who lives in my neighborhood.  Actually there are many of them, but this one is epic, and I seriously doubt that she even knows it.  She’s not trying to impress anyone.  She’s just doing her thing, and that happens to helping everyone she possibly can.  Before the last raindrop from the hurricane fell, she was in full gear organizing a local shelter for any flood victims in need.  The shelter has been closed for days, but she never stopped.  She just shifted to alternate relief efforts.  It’s just what she does.

We needed a break from the recent routine of incessant worry, so we took our kids to the beach yesterday.  While we were there, this beautiful story kept circling my mind.  It’s not a new tale, but I have always loved the message.  It makes me think of my amazing neighbor.  This is for you TG!

A child went to the beach with his family and saw countless starfish washed upon the beach.  As he played in the waves, he noticed a man walking along.  He would take a few steps and then toss a couple of starfish into the water.  A few more steps. A few more starfish. Over and over again. The child approached the man and said, “Why are you doing that?  You can’t save them all.  It doesn’t matter.”

The man smiled, reached down to pick up a starfish, and tossed it gently into the ocean.  He looked at the child and responded, “It mattered to that one.”

Don’t give in to apathy. Remember the power of hope.  If you can help someone, make the choice to do that.  Please note that I am not talking about enabling bad behavior or choices, but that’s a post for another day.

You know when you are acting with kindness, and the little stuff isn’t hard to do.  Your kindness matters to the one who receives it.  Good will in action may not save the world in a moment, but it does change it for the better right then and there.

Thank you to all of you who have changed my world for the better.  You inspire me to be braver, to be kinder, and to keep changing what I can for the better, too.

Love and light always – Joanna


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