Measuring. Driving, pulling a 26 ft trailer, gas mileage rate, money left in the envelope, movies watched in the car, farts from the dogs, the exhausted pre-nap cry from the toddler. Barren tumbleweed backgrounds turning to fresh green inviting canyons and little streams I try to remember. 4 hour drives turn to 9 hour drives and then we feel the sand and the constant rolling of the ocean waves lapping on our toes and challenging our minds to wonder.
Sand, I cannot measure.The waves don’t make sense in my measuring mind and I ponder the creator for an unmeasured amount of time. Measuring. Camping. Time. When the sun comes up, they come up- kids. Duct tapping tarps over windows to add sleep to count time. Dish soap dishes and mud pits right out the door. Measuring vegetables consumed, smores lined up in a daunting production line, with shaky hands grasping hot burning sticks of mallow fire, we agree to the kids running around with these….? Smiles, joy, sugar coma, darting from camp fire smoke, curious why mom lets me eat this so late, mom wondering why later as well.
First time ocean swims….on accident. Later yelling, “I hate the ocean!”
Snuggling in camp chairs, visiting, time uninterrupted. Late night card games, keeping track of the wins. Mismatched clothes and bathing in the river. Saying yes to mud fights. Washing sand off of little people in bathroom sinks. Eating a cookie and a muffin in bed just because you can. The first toss by the ocean waves, sand in strange places and swimming in fridgid salty water because mom said do what ever and dad is relaxing for once. Dogs like to poop in the ocean waves and we tie them up again. Finding slugs, lighthouses, searching for whales, eating fish and chips next to the sea and kids asking if they can to go to bed….
The friends arrive. Counting heads, all our prodigy lined up from ages 10 months, 1, 2,3,3.5,4,5,6,7,8,13 yrs. The assembly line of feeding faces and tag teaming parenting with some of the best people in the world. Chasing toddlers, rocking young ones, sipping drinks by the ocean and taking our bras off at midnight by the campfire. Lives mixing of friendships and family just as my head space hoped it would be.
Counting crabs, trying to convince husbands we could have a commune, nap time schedules, smores with a million children with hot sticks, volleyball games, tag teaming showers and bike parades. Babies dipping cheese in sand and racing to the ocean. Choosing to turn the baby monitors on and visiting, instead of ever going to sleep.
Not wanting it to end, the vacation, the adventure, the long stares at the ocean as if it would send right back to me a message of what I needed to hear. I can smell it still. I’m sweeping up sand at home and shells fall out of the laundry piles still waiting their turn.
Measuring, for a moment all of the weight I have gained from eating smores, but then,
Measuring how many moments until I can get back….Trying to keep what we have found, and hoping to measure less.
Dreaming of a giant motorhome and no place to really be…. My heart may very well be found while I’m traveling near the sea, and pulling marshmallows out of my daughter’s hair while belly laughing with my dear friends.