This past Tuesday I was walking on the same Long Island beach that I have known since I was a girl. My mind was wandering aimlessly, memories coming at me in no order or direction. Just like it did years before my husband, children, and my messy laundry room occupied my thoughts most of the time.
Of course the stroll wasn’t exactly carefree because I was with my three children. But they were happily running ahead of me with my dad, and I could at least enjoy a small moment of peace and time in my own head.
Because I’m an excellent multi-tasker, I could do this all while occasionally telling my six-year-old, Peter, to not go so far into the edge of the water. I also manged to be the willing receptacle of the shells and rocks that the kids would bring to me to put in my daughter’s doll bag that I grabbed out of my minivan and borrowed for the occasion.
Lizzy’s pink skirt was blowing in the breeze, and Tom was laughing with Peter as they would look for more shells to give me. Watching my children so carefree and happy filled me with a feeling of gratitude.
My dad’s familiar bald head was in the distance. He was holding Lizzy’s hand and showing her the birds.
As I was walking I willed myself to remember the details so I could replay the memory on days when I feel like a 24-hour TV channel with the slogan “All Mom All The Time.”
I thought back to the many summers that were spent at this same beach with my mother and sisters when we were about the same ages as my kids are now.
Back then, I loved the sand and the water. Going to the beach was a regular summer treat, all at once routine, yet something that I looked forward to. My sisters and I would bury each other in sand or look for minnows and swim in the water.
My mother’s orange and black bathing suit with the tiger lily print is etched in my memory. At age 68, my mom still has great legs, but when she was in her thirties, she was stunning. Her skin would get so dark in the sun, and she would look very exotic. Not like the other mothers with their more conservative bathing suits and white cream on their noses. I wondered if I would ever manage to look like her.
It never seemed fair to me that I got the dark hair of my mother and the Italian side of the family, yet also had the pale white skin from my German father. My blond sisters were born with skin that tanned beautifully. Somewhere in the gene mixing, something got a little confused.
Of course now, when I’m mistaken for the youngest when I’m in fact the oldest, there’s a little bit of a vindication. But back then I was just jealous.
My mind went to the summer when I was 24 and walking with my parents on the same beach. A welcome change of pace from my apartment in the city.
I was in a job I didn’t love, and I was unsure of where my life was going. I was casually dating a fraternity brother of my roommate’s boyfriend. My dad was mad at me because I had decided to go to Pennsylvania to meet him instead of going to the annual family reunion at my uncle’s farm upstate.
I turned to my mom and said that I had a feeling that I was going to go to Pennsylvania and never come back, yet I didn’t think that was the right choice for me. She turned her head and said something I hadn’t even considered.
“Then Kathy, don’t go.”
I chose the reunion over the guy. A week after I got back from my uncle’s farm I found myself on a blind date with the man who has been my husband for 18 years and counting.
“Peter, get closer to the sand… the sand Peter… sand… good job.”
“Mom, look at this shell.” Tom hands me a few sandy shells to put in the bag.
We catch up to my Dad and Lizzy. Lizzy’s arms fly around my neck as she gives me a big kiss.
I take a look at the sand bar where we have ended up and realize just how far we have walked.
And just how far I have come.
It is extremely hard to find moments to reminisce about the past. As a mother I am consumed by daily life and have a hard time even to sit up at night and get on the computer for fear that my little one is going to wake up. Once she wakes up, she doesn’t go back to bed unless I am with her. If is isn’t that, my husband comes home for a break from work or calls like he did just now in the middle of this paragraph, go figure. I am never alone. Our job as a mother is a very demanding and crazy job but the best job in the world. Thanks for following and I am happy you were able to enjoy the beach. Following back from tootsabellarose.blogspot.com
Now that i’m older and my kids are older there’s more time to reminisce but it’s hard to remember the times when they were young. i think blogging is a great way to save those memories, while they are happening. I enjoyed learning more about your family. Thanks!
Great post! I am so grateful when I pay attention to the moment I am in, and realize that I have so many blessings.
An Irish Italian Blessing says
What a beautiful post…another beautiful post I should say. I love those special moments where you can think about the choices and the forks in the road and just know and have faith that everything happens for a reason. If one thing had gone differently you may not have met the love of your life and be living the amazingly blessed life you have!!
Thank you guys so much for the great comments and the support. It’s funny how just the chance to think and remember can feel like a luxuary.
Thea thanks for the reminder that one day my kids will be all grown and all I will have are the moments I can remember. It does all go so fast!
Katherine, I have sometimes thought about the fact that if I made another choice I might not have met my husband and have the life I so love. It’s strange becasue that moment when I chose the reuinon over the trip I was following my heart and my gut which I so rarely did at the time! Thank heavan I did!!! Lol!!
Thanks again friends! Much love!!
Larri @ Seams Inspried says
One of life’s greatest blessings is to be able to cognitively relish the moments we are experiencing. You’ve captured yours perfectly. Thanks for sharing your heart, sweet friend. Happy Monday! ☺
PS…Link up with Monday Facts. I love your posts! ☺
Samantha Sotto says
I admire your ability to be truly immersed in the moment you’re in, Kathy. It is a rare and beautiful gift. Thanks again for sharing this story with us. It’s a much needed reminder 🙂
isn’t it funny how we change? this is a beautifully written post.
Becky Jane says
Kathy, your post is simply beautiful. You have such a beautiful way with words. I could feel the sand and the water. I could see your Dads bald head and little Lizzy hugging you.
I love to read about women who love life and living it…thanks!
Beautiful read, Kathy. Love how you savor these moments and the way that they resurface. Happens to all of us, I think, but not everyone can write it down like you do!
Rachel Joy says
Wow, so amazing that the seemingly small decisions we make in life have such a great impact…I wonder what would’ve happened if you’d gone to Pennsylvania.
Amazing post! What a feeling to see your life in front of you, and the life that was behind you all at the same time. Truly beautiful.
Spilled Milkshake says
How beautiful! It is so wonderful to be able to look back over our life and realize how the choices we’ve made have brought us to where we are now. Sounds like choosing the family reunion was a great choice. Everything happens for a reason.
Grumpy Grateful Mom says
Kathy, your post just drew me in. I love the way you wove your past and present together. What a perfect day. I think those peacefulish moments are sometimes hard to find.
I love that your mother gave you the simple advice you needed that led you to your husband. 🙂
TyKes Mom says
This was such a wonderful post. When I finished reading it, I felt a whimsical moment of my own, recalling the times before I was a mother. It is so rare once we are parents of little ones to find time to just reminisce. Yet, it is so important when we can. You have reminded me to get out of the present for a moment and take a look at the bigger picture and just how far I’ve come. *Sigh* 🙂
Michael Ann says
I really enjoyed this. Nicely written, and I felt like I was right on the beach with you and your family. It reads like the opening page of a book.
This was a good post. I really believe in the benefit of these types of reflections. I think I might do some reflecting myself tonite. You inspired me. God has looked out for you in a special way. I look forward to reading more posts.
Erin @ MomsHaveStyle2 says
Wow, Kathy, I really enjoyed this. It was touching and lovely and VERY well written. Thanks for including me inside your beautiful thoughts for a moment. I enjoyed my visit.
Elisabeth Hirsch says
Such a twist of fate. I LOVED reading this :0)
Just Another Mom of Twins says
My goodness…I got very emotional reading this post…what a lovely, heartfilled story! I always enjoy your posts…
P.S. On the bright side…sun is not good for the skin…LOL! 😉
Mindie Hilton says
Beautiful post. Thank you for following Bacon Time. I am now following you on GFC and just liked you on facebook. I have an anything goes linky too I would love for you to join. It starts every Friday afternoon.
PS, I hate my dishwasher, but love your blog name.
I always love to read all your comments! Thank you so much for such great feedback and support! I appreciate it more than I can ever say!! Much love to you all!!
So glad I stopped by and read this. The beach is and always has been my very favorite place on earth. Also… I think our mother’s had the same bathing suit! I too have memories of the tiger lily suit!!! Anyway, thanks for coming by and sharing your story on my blog today too, have a great night!
Angela @ First Comes Baby…
We love, love, love the beach. Some of our most special family memories are made there. Every year my son wakes me up early to go for a beach walk, just him and I. I’ll cherish those moments forever!
I awarded you the Versatile Blog Award-again, apparently. Just noticed you have already received it. Oh, well. I wouldn’t worry about following all the rules this time since you’ve done it before-I didn’t!
It’s amazing how life just catches up with you no matter what. But you have 3 wonderful children who adore you and that’s the best part of being a mom, I think. It’s not easy being it all but that hug and kiss I think is the best part at the end of the day.
Love reading your posts. Glad to see you back on Sundays.
Hope you have a great week,
Español para Niños (Spanish for Kids)
Hi, thank you so much for stopping by Kristy’s Place and for your kind words. I’m a new follower and I loved this post. Most of the time I forget to live in the moment. Thank you for the reminder, and for taking me back to my own days at the beach with my mother. 🙂
I loved your post. You write beautifully, I am so glad there is so much love in your family.
Jessica @FoundtheMarbles says
I can relate to this post in so many ways. I now live in Pennsylvania with my husband, who I met when he was a fraternity brother of my friend. I walked the beaches of Jones and Tobay many times during my childhood. Oh, and was I always, always taken for the younger sister.
Beck Gambill says
I love looking back once in a while. I am astounded by the distance I’ve come as well! Sometimes I don’t recognize that girl staring at me from the pages of the past. But that’s as it should be. I loved hearing a bit about your youth and what has shaped you!
Karen Dawkins says
Beautiful post. I want that internal TV too — sad we can’t always have that…. but then, we don’t remember the bad stuff. Maybe that’s a good thing?
I love it when we can reflect and see what “that desicions or this one” did for us! I love too how you can show your children in that story that the very thing you did, made your parents happy! Beautiful!