Clouds hover and humidity clings.
My daughter squeals at each pelican and heron that flies by.
I try to focus on the pitter patter of her feet on the smooth deck.
The creak of the porch swing.
The smell of salt and marsh and sea life.
I want to savor this moment, but my to do list, the never-ending tasks for the semester intrude my thoughts like unwanted clouds.
Rest can be stormy for the overachiever. A discipline that paradoxically takes work. Rest is both necessary and hard.
What revives each person is different. What revives me now, as a mother, is different.
Given one hour to relax may actually feel worse than no break. One week of vacation felt the same. The list is so long of things to catch up on. If I spend the time sleeping then I don’t get to read or write or prep for virtual classes or do the dishes or the laundry.
When was the last time I felt fully refreshed or caught up or revived?
We choose rest anyway–for the memories, the discipline, the change of pace and scenery.
Rest is not so much trusting that the work will be done, but acknowledging the work does not define us. Rest declares that our worth is not in our productivity.
This summer, rest looked like a trip to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. Rest included cousins, “Aunt Maw-yey,” and “gamma’s house,” boat rides and hush puppies, fried shrimp, bacon wrapped scallops, and barbecue. A drive by birthday party for my 85-year-old grandmother.
Rest looked like slow mornings playing Paw Patrol and afternoon ice cream treats.
Rest meant diving under crashing waves, splashing and giggling with my toddler daughter in the sand as she floated in her puddle jumper yelling “yook me” “foat, no sink.” Her little toes bobbing above the surface, her salty, wet hair plastered to her sandy face.
Rest also brought meltdowns for my homebody son. He didn’t want to share with his cousins (“Paw patrol is only my favorite”) or venture into the water. He sulked on the sand, whining for a snack, for mama to come in. “No one can be in the water,” he declared.
Rest felt like humidity. Like salt and sand settling in the mesh of bathing suits, sunscreen rubbed over hot, sticky skin.
Rest smelled of fish and marsh and giant drops of rain.
Rest meant the freedom to run through puddles after a thunderstorm.
Rest gave my kids a glimpse of a summer that mirrored my own childhood trips.
Rest can be like chasing clouds in a Carolina blue sky as they constantly change and morph from majestic to ominous, billowy and white to stormy and gray.
And still we chase. We choose to rest, to reset. To silence the to-do list and open our eyes to the beauty in the sky.
This post is part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to view the next post in this series “Rest — A Photo Essay”.
Photos taken by me, my husband, my mom, and my cousin, Mollie in Davis and Beaufort, North Carolina. All photos were edited by my husband.