Toddlers. Let me tell ya. They are the best. The scariest. The craziest. The most fun and also the most trying people to ever be.
I am lucky enough to have one of those right now. This little boy who never stops. Who loves his dad more than he loves milk (which is more than words could even express). Who wants to be outside every waking moment of his life.
My husband is on leave so we took a two day trip to Oregon to see Cannon Beach. We played, ran, flew a kite, and went to the hotel pool.
On our way home we stoped at Cape Disappointment, WA. It was breathtaking. We opened our pop up tent (holla to the pale girls 🙌🏻) on a little sandy cove next to a lighthouse and went about running and digging a little more before we had to head home.
Amongst all the fun was my ever looming frustration with my toddler. This unappreciative alter ego who, quite unfortunately, pops up throughout our every day life. Vacations are no different. I was frustrated because my toddler had the audacity to be a toddler on this trip. He threw sand at me. He ran away from me. He wrecked things I built in the sand just to see if he could. He begged for a snack and then cried because it wasn’t what he wanted.
It was at cape disappointment, though, that I became…. what’s the word I’m looking for…. oh. right. Disappointed. I became very disappointed with myself.
And here’s why.
After said toddler went ahead and ruined my perfectly good sand drawing for the 16th time, I decided to take him over to where the water was flowing into the cove in a little stream. A safe spot where he could go knee deep in the water and Ol Dave wouldn’t be worried he would be washed out to sea.
As he ran I watched these little tiny footprints behind him. These itty bitty little feet in the sand. And just as I stopped and stared at them a wave came. And as quickly as his tiny toddler foot made them, they were gone. Like they had never existed.
And friends, I. could. not. breathe.
I couldn’t breathe because it’s all going too quickly. Here I have been continually telling him to be quieter, to listen better, to walk instead of run. I forget that those little tiny footprints belong to this little tiny human who has no idea what life is about. Why should he walk when running gets him there faster? Why should he whisper when yelling is so much more fun? How can he stop to listen when there’s so much to see and touch and learn?
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t teach our children to listen or to speak calmly. But too often I elevate my desire for obedience over his need to experience.
Little tiny footprints in the sand washed away by a wave. A stinging reminder to let him be little. To build sandcastles just to let him knock them down. To race him to the edge of the water and then scoop him up, sandy feet and all, just to kiss him and tell him he’s everything I’ve ever wanted.
Because too soon those same footprints will belong to a man who doesn’t need one more bedtime story. Who doesn’t want to fall asleep clutching Mickey Mouse. Who won’t ask me to hold him or want to snuggle and sing silly songs. And that’s ok. Because a grown man wanting those things would be super weird.
But right now. I want it all. The fish-face kisses in the pool, the belly laughing during hide and seek. I want to tickle those little feet and hold those little hands before a wave comes out of nowhere and washes it all away- just like those little footprints on the beach of Cape Disappointment.
Photo taken by my husband at Cape Disappointment, WA.