Being Mother's Day, I couldn't think of a better way to spend time than with family on the beach and it ended up being wonderful. Not because I didn't have to go to work, cook or clean all day - as nice as that was - it was instead because of something that happened.
We stayed in a place called Duck that was just about as beautiful and low key as you could get. The beach was quiet with very few people, making it relaxing and nice.
Watching the kids play and run around the beach, I turned when I noticed two people coming from far off on the left. The closer they got, I could tell they were a young couple in their twenties, going for a walk.
The girl was wearing a cute bikini and had a tan that was only outdone by her legs that went on for miles. The guy was just as sun kissed, with abs you could literally eat a meal off of. It was difficult not to stare at the two as they sauntered towards us like the pages of an Abercrombie ad.
Holding my sundress to gather the kids out of their way, I realized the couple looking at our four wild children not with smiles, but with annoyance, as though the kids were going to block their path.
My husband and I both noticed, so together we began yelling over the sound of the waves to herd the kids in our direction.
It was too late. As the young couple approached, they were visibly bothered. As the kids ran to us, one of the boys was in mid throw of his football which almost totally Marsha Brady-ed the supermodel, while another one of our sons was flying a kite and all but clotheslined Mr. J. Crew.
Mortified, my husband and I ran to get the kids and waved gestures of apologies to the couple as they shot us a look and continued to walk by.
Just then, I remembered walking the beach in my 20's with my cute and young husband. I remembered not thinking a thing about wearing a bikini on a sunny stroll along the shore. I would never have thought to wear a sundress or a hat, sunblock, sunglasses...when I was young and carefree.
I found myself elbowing my husband as they passed and whispered, "I'll give you five bucks if you yell to them, 'THIS IS YOUR FUTURE'".
I wondered how fast they would run.
Run to hold onto those carefree days without a worry in the world and a complete unconsciousness as to the reality of the depths of responsibility life would bring with time and experience. They couldn't realize how things would change even physically. Grey hair, wrinkles, saggy bits of skin, extra weight...all the joys of getting older.
I thought about this as I watched our kids continue to laugh and play.
As luck would have it, a little later from the opposite direction, an elderly couple began to approach. Their hair shone white in the sun and their pants were rolled up to their knees.
Learning from before, Adam and I immediately shot towards the kids and scurried them in our direction to clear the way for the older couple.
Keeping their hands linked together, they walked unbothered in sync and with smiles, enjoying the sand and waves. Their skin was worn with tanned wrinkles mapping the years of laughter along their eyes and cheeks.
Nearing us, they noticed each one of the kids with a genuine warmth that came through so clearly...and then at me...with my frizzy sea blown hair, sandy wet sundress and exasperated look.
Their eyes told a story of life and love and how important it was to cherish what really mattered...the real things that go so much deeper than looks or carefree youth.
That's when it hit me. They were far more beautiful than the younger couple ever could have been. Every grey hair, wrinkle, saggy bit of skin and yes, even extra weight was worn in truth, as a joy of getting older.
Again, we waved gestures of apologies but without saying a word, they waved back, with love as if to remind us to cherish each minute that God has given. Especially with the gifts that were all around us...and more importantly...right in front of us.
Happy Mother's Day to you and yours. May gifts of love surround you on this day and every other day.