Mom, you don’t really fit in this family.
With one broad stroke of generosity and friendship, my kids finally get me.
It’s nothing I could have said, or done, or modeled for them. It took a pair of copper skinned boys who roam barefoot through the marshes, who bait their own hooks, who actively seek out the elusive barracuda, to teach my kids that this water world is seven kinds of awesome.
My heart is on fire.
It’s the Huckleberry Finn in me that wants them to know the freedom of exploration. I want them to know the ebb and flow of the tides and landscapes that change with one big huff of nature’s breath. I want them to dig into the mucky sands with their toes and pull out ethereal creatures who carry their houses on their backs. I want them to learn patience and slower paces and the fine art of finding your own fun at the end of a rickety dock.
I finally saw the recognition in their eyes. It was a glance of self-assurance as she leapt off the piling. It was his affirming nod as he paddled away as captain of his own ship. It was the fifty-two tiny shells she surfaced with each time she dove to the sandy bottom. It was a lesson in autonomy and intrinsic motivation that could never be taught on dry land.
Thank you to the friends who singlehandedly melted the ice from their boots and have erased the furrowed crease of confusion from their faces. They finally get me… what a gift.