Monday, October 19, 2015

I think I might be a mermaid

"I don't know why I'm so happy today."
"Because you spent the last two days on the water." 

My husband had, as usual, pointed out the obvious. I hadn't even made the connection.

We spent the whole weekend on or near water. Saturday, we participated in (get this) a local cardboard boat race. We spent the morning at a marina, along with several other local families, building and decorating boats made out of nothing more than cardboard, duct tape, and lots of imagination. When it was our turn, I thought surely the boat we had constructed, The S.S. Ohana, would either buckle, tip over, or immediately sink.
But, nope...much to our surprise (and admittedly, glee), the Ohana stayed afloat as we paddled not one, but four laps, and won 1st place for Overall Design and 2nd place for People's Choice (I'm sure it didn't hurt that we had a small mob of friends and family cheering for us).
The boys lifted those trophies in the air with such pride, you would have thought they were Superbowl tropies. By the time we left, we were all sunburned, salty, and soaked.

Sunday we woke up early and spent the day on our friends' boat. I couldn't believe that in spite of being major beach bums and living near the water our whole lives, we had never spent the day on the water like that. Our friends must have thought we were pretty ridiculous: I took pictures as if I were a tourist on vacation, we oooohed and aaaaaahed at every sight, and the four of us couldn't stop grinning all day. At one point, we were speeding along the intracoastal ("Go fast! Go fast!" the boys would chant) and I was sitting up front. The wind was so strong, if I turned my head, my sunglasses would fly off. The boys were up on the bow, their long surfer dos blowing like lions' manes. Hubby was back by our friend, who was driving. One of my favorite Kenny Chesney songs was blaring. I looked back at Hubby, who flashed me a very satisfied grin, and the look on his face reflected exactly what I was feeling: pure, absolute joy.

It didn't matter that the skies were a little overcast or that the water at the sandbar where we docked to swim was a little chilly. All that mattered was that feeling: I wasn't worried about bills or cleaning the house or what I was going to cook for dinner that week. There was no room in my head for the silly and not-so-silly anxious thoughts that so often plague me (or should I say with which I plague myself?). They were all pushed out by the wind and the music and the feeling of being on the water.

I have always loved the ocean...the beach is where my soul is happiest. It's funny how I had this feeling of contentment last night and didn't initially realize it was because of how I had spent my weekend. Life is, even during the best of times, busy and hectic. It's easy to fill your weekends with errands, must-do's, home projects, and hours on the couch with mindless TV because you're too tired to do anything else. The days are long but life is short. And if you're not careful, you spend too much of it getting things done rather than really living. We measure the quality of our lives within the constraints of our achievements: promotions, raises, bigger houses, better cars, nicer landscaping, those last 5 pounds... But I'm pretty sure the greatest achievement is a life filled with as many moments like the ones I lived this weekend: playing, laughing, feeling free. I refilled my soul this weekend...
...with a little salt water.