This Normal is Important

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Three times, I tell him. I want to say I went boogie boarding three times. Three seems like a magic number to me, enough times to leave an imprint on my three kids’ memories that their momma actually went boogie boarding with them. Once is just a penny in the wishing well, you forget all about it. Twice? Perhaps you’ll remember. But three times, surely that’s enough.

Really, I don’t need to go boogie boarding. It’s not my thing, at all. And getting flipped over by a crashing wave and struggling to come to the top with the board flapping on my head isn’t my idea of glamour or fun, snorting out salt water through my nostrils and clinging for a firm spot to stand.

But somehow I think these are the things our kids remember.

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I walked Landis back to our tent on the beach as we snorted out salt water, popped open our sodas and counted sand crabs. I asked him what else he’d remember about me. He thought about it for a bit and simply answered, “This.”

I didn’t ask him to explain because my sentimental heart could do the explaining. I can only hope that “this” is true. That he will remember the sitting, the giggling, the playing, the snuggles, the goofiness, in the everyday moments we share together. If he never ever remembers the times I did the bigger things with him, like boogie boarding or jumping at the trampoline park, I hope against hope that the daily consistent moments of me just being here, the “this,” will leave an imprint on his heart forever.

The moments a mom has with her kids aren’t always exciting; in fact they’re usually just normal. We slap the mayonnaise on the sandwich and remember which kid likes a squirt of mustard and which one wants sour dough bread. You’ve already stashed the cream soda your son craves at the beach, which in fact is cherry vanilla pepsi, reminiscent of cough syrup. Tossed along side that can is the same orange pair of goggles he’s been wearing for two years because they work the best and you know it.

You remember the details that add up to your children’s normal daily life, yet they may have no idea why their life feels normal. Not to say it’s all because of moms, but we play such a huge role in the steady, consistent life of our kiddos that I’d say it adds up to something important.

But which one of them will remember those tiny details? They may never remember the exact makings of the normal day, but they will in all likeliness remember us just being there. They will remember “this,” they will remember the feelings and the smells of that day, even if you never put your wet body on a boogie board.

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Sometimes I want to be the one that does the crazy, memorable things with my kids. Sometimes I’m jealous of my husband because he’s spontaneous and full of life and fun. His energy seems limitless and he participates.

I’ve embraced a lot of things in this parenting thing, I do plenty of things I’d perhaps never have chosen if it were just me. But I can’t downplay the keeping of the normal, the making of the “this” moments and the power of being present.

Yes, I plan to hop on that boogie board one more time, even if it means saltwater in my nose, and I’m hoping it’ll make the magic number three live long in their memories.

Mostly though, when life goes back to normal, and the sand has been wiped clean from everything we own, I think I’m happy just to be the curator of normal and enter into their “this” that will be tucked into their hearts forever.

This is important work.

*We’ve been away for one glorious week at the beach; I grabbed a few minutes here and there to write and am just now able to post some things.*

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  • Melina Asher

    Oh to be a crab on the beach and watch you snort salt water! I would laugh.
    Love it – so well said. Normal is a great maker of memories. Those everyday traditions Noel Piper wrote about.

    • I’m sure you would laugh!! I’m such a wimp.

  • MYCOPEFAMILY

    I love “this”. You captured into words how most of us mommas feel! I too get envious of my husband’s ability to be spontaneous and fun. But you’re so right what we do even in the most mundane moments is important. It’s the power of being present. Love this and can so relate….