I am sitting on Carmel Beach watching my almost 14-year-old son play at the water’s edge. His tic, a nervous hand flapping that is tied to his ADHD, is on high speed. When he was younger, I spent inordinate amounts of time trying to break him of it, chiding him to “stop flapping,” but he can’t voluntarily cease doing what he doesn’t realize he’s doing. Now I see the flapping for what it is…an honest, outward display of his inner enthusiasm and excitement. For a landlocked, Colorado boy, there must be no greater joy than feeling the surf nibble at your toes.
Although there are a dozen places in Carmel I would prefer to be right now (like, say, a quaint shop or a charming bakery), I am resting on a beach wearing jeans and a full rain coat. I have my feet covered in the sand and am struggling to keep warm this breezy, 57-degree, final afternoon in May. This is not my ideal beach day. We’re about twenty-degrees of separation from my ideal.
But we’re here, present, accounted for, and undeniably alive. He’s about a hundred yards away from me. Every few minutes he looks for me and waves. It could be my favorite Mom thing ever. We’re separate but together and sharing our day. We’re going on two hours here now. My iPhone battery is dying while I write this, and Joe’s flapping hands conduct a symphony of oceanic waves. It’s not my ideal day, but it’s close.
Life is beautiful and perfect in its imperfections. People say grace happens, but grace is. If you sit still long enough, it finds you.