We said goodbye to summer with one of our Mommy and Me trips. Florida greeted us with a week of promised rain showers and - sadly - no beach days. A threatening red tide has washed through The Gulf. Its devastation felt both by marine life and locals.
I had envisioned a week of catching up on reading, work, and relaxation while sandcastles built up around me and my daughter’s excited screeches filled my ears as the ocean waves chased her. No reading was done. No deadlines were met - as we were stuck inside most days. We started to get a bit agitated and snippy with one another. Our regular Florida days disrupted. My anxiety built.
On the third night long after bedtime, I sat alone in the dark listening to the rain and the chorus of insects. I began to think just maybe I needed such a tide in my life to force me to rethink the time we had here.
The next evening we went to the beach. No bathing suits, no beach toys, and no routine. We walked and talked barefoot on the soft white sand, and we watched the sunset. There is nothing like Anna Marie Island sunsets.
My daughter chatted away about the start of preschool and of her excitement to meet new friends and teachers. She grew quiet as we walked along the desolate beach (a first for such a popular tourist location). She reached for my hand and then asked me if I had felt nervous when I had started preschool. I told her any start to a new chapter in life can appear scary, but to think back on how much she had learned this past year, and to imagine how much she would learn in the new school year. I realized that her temper tantrums those past few days were not merely because she was stir crazy and stuck indoors, but that she needed the space and opportunity to talk about her feelings on the transition. Her own personal tide.
I had failed to see through my own stress caused by the weather disruption that I had not given her the encouragement and time to open up. I was met by my own tide of emotion. Just maybe planning to do nothing is more significant than always planning to do something. And sometimes perhaps we need a tide to wash through to help us see that.