Beach vacation now is trying to figure out how to discreetly pull down my swimsuit top so I can nurse a 3 month old, while encouraging the 2 year old that it is okay for the sand to touch his feet and making sure the 7 year old doesn't follow the seagulls so far down the beach that she becomes lost in the crowd. (And yes, that was a really long run-on sentence. But really long run-on sentences come with motherhood!)
I've traded out a good portion of the beer in my cooler for sippy cups, juice boxes, and enough snacks to make it three hours (because you know that no kid really lasts all day at the beach). Beach vacation is now SPF 3000...multiple applications, and a bottle of water to pour over the kids' hands before they eat their snack, because all-of-a-sudden, at the beach, no child wants dirty hands to eat their snack. Beach vacation is eyes on kids at all times, because if you look away for but an instant they could disappear. And if they lose sight of you, well all those beach umbrellas really look the same when you are little. Beach vacation is Adolph's meat tenderizer tucked into the beach bag just in case someone gets stung by a jellyfish. Beach vacation is lugging 4 towels, two beach chairs, the cooler, 2 kids, the baby and a baby bouncy seat from the car to the sand and back to the car when you get tired of the sand.
I can't wait for beach vacation. No, that is not meant to be sarcastic. I really can't wait for beach vacation. Because beach vacation is part of my vocation. It is my sacred calling. Motherhood. And my calling follows me wherever I go. It is a part of who I am. So to the beach, to the grocery store, at home, at church...there is no vacation from my vocation.
Yesterday we made chocolate zucchini bread and Ian is really into helping in the kitchen lately. Part of me smiles and part of me inwardly groans, because a 2 year old helping in the kitchen often translates into twice as much clean up for me! But, it is part of my vocation, and as I helped Isabel on the step stool and Ian on a chair, I was standing in my bare feet in a pile of sugar that had made it's way to the floor. And God gave me the ability to smile about it. Not to sigh aloud, or roll my eyes, or yell at the mess....He led me to continue to teach them about baking with love.
Ummm, and the zucchini bread??? Well, it's worth the bake! Mmmmmm.....
Another day, one of the few days recently where it has happened that both Ian and Caroline managed to take their afternoon nap at exactly the same time, so that I knew I had a solid 2 hour window of "free time" (which we all know in the Mommy world really means "kid-free time").....I asked Isabel if she wanted to get out the sewing machine and work on her quilting project. Of course, she beamed and eagerly ran off to gather her sewing materials. And that smile, along with the time we spent together that afternoon was worth more than 2 hours of "free time". No, I can not be called Mommy of the Year, the Holy Spirit was the one who put that thought into my head....the thought to be self-giving, instead of self-serving. The thought to really live my vocation in that moment.
Well, maybe not Mommy of the Year for that....but, we did continue the sewing excitement and attempt to make Kirsten a new dress!
Hey, who needs a pattern anyway? Can't you just cut some fabric and piece it together??
Did I mention I really do not know how to sew. Very embarrassing job, but the important part was that Isabel was thrilled...ummm...beyond thrilled!
OH, and this is why we use a pattern! Mommy of the Year for effort, not for sewing skills. ;)
Today, the priest at Mass actually inspired me to finish this post which I've been sitting on for over a week now. He said that "vocation" and "vacation" are the same word except for just one letter. And while I can go on vacation to try to rejuvenate, refresh and relax my life,
my vocation will come along too.