Friday, April 1, 2011

Tools and Treasures

I watched this little boy as he contemplated the waves with calm anticipation, yesterday afternoon.  I know that in some parts of the country children are pulling out their snow jackets and sleds hopeful for a possible snow day, but here in balmy California it is somewhere around eighty-plus degrees with springtime blue skies and the soft fragrances of summer on the breezes.  It was the kind of day that makes you think about flip-flops, ice-cold Coca-Cola and filmy cotton tops.  The beaches were uncrowded with small pockets of people doing what folks do when there is nothing more important to do than heading down to the ocean to appreciate the warmth of it all.  Most people do not brave the water quite yet for it is still downright chilly with winter's recent departure.  But there are the surfers and the paddleboarders and the occasional crazy people who believe it when they say, "Come on in, the water's just fine!"  I prefer to observe.
And so, as I watched this little boy head down towards the water all snug in his wetsuit and flippers, board firmly tethered to his wrist by a cord, I thought about his momma.  I thought about what we do to equip our children as they head out into life without our regular supervision.  I considered the tools with which we supply them.  Wings, flippers, our hearts, tangibly intangible things that can help them to fly or to float, depending upon the conditions.
And there he went, this little boy of ten or eleven years old, fear snuggly zipped into his wetsuit, contained in a place which would only allow his brave to seep out.  I watched as he evaluated the height of the waves coming toward him.
I watched as he allowed them to roll by, raising one flipper at a time in his efforts to venture out into the deep.  I pictured him doing this at the age of two or three, holding tightly onto the hand of his father or mother, tucking away all of the confidence, security and love which was being passed down to him from one to the other.  The tools.  The treasures.
And then the moment came when it was sink or swim.  Board held firmly in his hands, he dove into the waves, head-on.  No looking back for his parents, he had all of the tools that he needed for this challenge.
He made it past one cresting wave after another, heading out and away from the shoreline.  For a long time, I watched him.  There are no lifeguards on the beach at this time of the year.  Only a few other thinly spread out surfers unable to hear if there were any worried cries from the shore coming from someone who no longer swims in the ocean.  But as I raised my hand to shield the sun from shining too brightly in my eyes, this little boy's confidence took hold of my nerves and I once again, became nothing more than just a mere observer witnessing a moment in this little guy's journey, and mine.

I thought about my four Angel Daughters, ages 17, 19, 21 and 23 and how with each step along the way, Mark and I have made sure to provide them each with anything we might anticipate that they might need to fly or float on their journeys.  I considered the relatively short amount of time that we have as children to absorb everything we need in order to zip away the fears we must conquer and survive as young people.  I contemplated my job as a mother and what I might have forgotten to add to my own daughter's tool chests.
But as I kept my eye on this boy, I realized that whatever I have given my girls up until now, is enough.  For I have watched each one of them as they dodged the waves of life so far, and I know that they have a very strong foundation.  I know that it is safe for me to stand back a bit and observe as they each take flight because they have the tools to remain afloat.  The tools and the treasures.

As this little boy continued his search for the perfect wave, I began my walk back down the beach again.  I knew that there was somebody watching out for him at this point and in my silent prayers, I hoped that there would always be other people watching out for my girls when I am not around.  Because as parents, we do that.  Keep our eye on other people's children.  Even when it seems as if they have all of the tools that they need for themselves.  Partially to make sure, but mostly, to reassure ourselves.


miruspeg said...

Beautiful post Debbie!
Like you I watch out for strangers as well as my loved ones.
Your writing is always inspiring and filled with love.
Bless you my sweet friend.
Big hugs
Peggy xxxx

Tracy said...

Deb, this actually brought tears to my eyes...not only a magnificent piece of writing but some vital thoughts we need as parents in equipping our children. It made me think of Jack's parents; as they struggle to equip Jack with all he needs in HIS journey and throughout the remainder of his life, however short.
Thank you my friend...and hugs to you this day!

LauraX said...

Oh Deb, we all pray that we have done enough, given enough, been present enough...and then must trust that we have, that they will be alright. I loved this line so much "contained in a place which would only allow his brave to seep out." Beautiful.

Renee said...

Ahhh, yes.. Have we done enough to equip them...our most precious gifts that are ours for such a short time. Our youngest is 24 and our oldest is 41 and sometimes I still wonder....but I see them with their own families and am so proud of who they became ~ on their own and will a little help from their parents...
Beautiful post, Debbie...made me feel warm all over..

Angella Lister said...

beautiful post, and such a gift to know that there are mothers like you looking out for other people's children. your children are so blessed. love.

deb colarossi said...

oh, isn't this always such a delicate balance.
I sometimes like the out of sight out of mind growth... :)

I tend to watch other children as well. It's a personality thing perhaps? I worry about the children running along bleachers at soccer , playing seemingly unattended at the park, running in the parking lots... ah.. it's hard.

I think it speaks to my fears of the unknown.

Donna Iona Drozda said...

Hi Deb
And now I come to visit your world and to discover the beauty-full eye through which you see...and write...about your world.

You are writer.

The story of the surfing boy is such a gentle and enthralling tale, you bring us into the scene with perfect tempo and pace...and for me this line :
"fear snuggly zipped into his wetsuit, contained in a place which would only allow his brave to seep out"
took my heart and held it close and I said...I want to remember that...I want to never forget and I want to always let my brave seep out.

Thanks for this story and your caring compassionate heart.

chandelier magic said...

Hi Debra -
I hope you got my email - for some reason I can't comment here, so I changed computers. Duh!


Sharon said...

Your ocean is so wide open, wild, and beautiful. I can hear those waves as they break upon the shore.
It's obvious that little boy knows and respects the ocean, and those who love him have taught him well.

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