My family and I recently took a trip to the beach. It was heavenly, as usual. My boys were running and splashing in the water. My husband was playing with them in the surf. The waves were coming up around me as I sat in the sand and soaked in the sun.
After one particular wave crashed onto the shore, I looked down and noticed something I hadn’t ever seen before. As I watched the water recede, I saw at least 50 tiny little mollusks appear and then disappear within seconds. I kept my eyes focused on the sand as the next wave rushed in and saw it happen again. It was amazing!
I wanted to look more closely and see what exactly had happened. I waited patiently as the wave came in, pouring over my legs and the sand around me. When the water crept away again, I saw all those beautiful little shells appear once more. As I leaned over and studied them closely, I saw the mollusk poke its body out of its shell and use it’s “foot” to bury itself underneath the sand. To see 50 or so of these little guys (no bigger than a dime) doing this at once, was breathtaking. It was such a fun and amazing sight that it made me giggle, and I immediately called my boys and my husband over to witness the phenomenon as well. They loved it just as much as I did.
As I continued to watch the mollusks appear and disappear, I looked around to see if any other beachgoers had taken notice. I watched as children played, adults sunbathed, and others took a stroll down the beach. There were moms and dads standing or sitting at the waters edge just like I was, yet not one of them took notice of the tiny mollusks. They did not see this simple, yet amazing, part of nature right at their feet. And it got me thinking.
How many times do we do this in our daily lives?
There are so many days I am easily distracted by the busyness of life. There is laundry to do, dishes to be washed, homework to be done, sports practices, work, birthday parties to attend…the list goes on.
And all too many times a day I find myself saying, “Hold on” or “Wait a minute” to my kids. After all, I just need to get one more load of laundry in and put that one last dish away in the cupboard. Or maybe I need to finish that last paragraph I’m writing. I get sucked into what I’m doing and don’t want to stop until I’m finished.
So often I feel overwhelmed by life and all that needs to be done. I get weary from hearing, “Mom, mom, mom…” all day long. I feel like I’m constantly breaking up fights between my boys and listening to my 5-year-old whine over this and that.
It’s exhausting and, unfortunately, sometimes it’s all I see. Instead of stopping and seeing the new gymnastics move my youngest son just learned, or watching my oldest son blow bubbles with his gum for the first time, I see a job that needs to be done. As a result, I’m missing out on special moments with my boys.
I’m missing those mollusk moments right in front of my eyes.
So I’ve tried to be more intentional about stopping and spending more time with my boys. They are growing so fast, and I don’t want to miss those beautiful little moments happening right under my nose. When they excitedly call out and say, “Mommy, watch this,” I make sure to turn my head and look to see what they are doing. If my oldest says, “Mom, look at this book I just made,” I stop what I’m doing to sit down with him and let him show me this thing he is so proud of.
Now, am I perfect? Do I do this every time? No. Of course not. I’m a mom. Moms get distracted by all the things that need to be taken care of. But I am trying. And I am getting better at it each day.
My boys will only be this age for so long. Soon enough, they’ll be headed out the door to college. Yes, the days are long and difficult at times. But those special little moments make it all worth it. Like when I look into the living room and see my boys snuggled up on the couch together reading a book. Or when they’re laughing and giggling while playing Legos together. I love when they draw a picture and are so proud to show it to me. I treasure each of those moments and the thousands more yet to come.
And so, I encourage you, dear mamma, to do the same. Take a minute to stop and observe what’s happening around you. Watch your little mollusks closely, because soon enough, those moments will be gone.