I have been trying incredibly hard lately to do adult things, like making healthy food choices and doing this bizarre thing called running without something chasing you. It is hard and makes me want to cry when no one is looking. But, I have been told more than twice that the time is now, and if I wait until I am forty-five, it is too late. And so here we are, at thirty-five with a pair of decent running shoes and ordering water with lemon instead of cherry coke.
There is always a breaking point, and for me, it was chocolate cake.
So, I did what any normal desperate adult does at 9:30pm on a Thursday night: I shared my plight on the internet, basically admitting that I had tried, but that there was an entire container of chocolate cake in my fridge (A CONTAINER!) so someone needed to send help. Or a fork. By 9:36pm I had eaten a healthy slice. But the thing that surprised me the most was the multitude of people who, instead of saying, “You can do it! Just eat a healthy snack!” responded with the following:
“You are beautiful! Eat the cake.”
How often are we indulging in the joys that life sprinkles on our everyday? We are so over-focused with being on time, meeting deadlines, maintaining relationships, caring for our home, placing our children first and ourselves last, that we lose that twinkle in our eyes and the spring in our step. You are beautiful.
Eat the cake.
Last week, our family went to the beach with my brother, sister-in-law, and nieces. It was a trip we had planned for months, saving extra money and counting down the days. It was then, out in the ocean, without distraction, that I realized that all of the kids were out floating, happy, soaking up sun and breathing in the good life. We didn’t argue. We never once had a conversation about worry or regrets, work or bills. We were just frozen in time, in that moment. A moment that would have never happened if we had waited. I am so thankful that we didn’t wait until we were at optimal beach weight, or say “let’s just wait until next summer,” or decide just to stay home because we didn’t want the stress of traveling so far with children.
We ate the cake.
On the final leg of our trip, we made a spontaneous decision to book this two-hour “pirate cruise” for the kids. It was very uncharacteristic of us — to take a gamble on an event on the high seas without at least four friend approvals and no less then fifteen positive TripAdvisor reviews. We watched the kids as they partied with pirates on this boat in the ocean, pulled buried treasure from the waves, face painted, tattooed, sweaty and happy. And I kept thinking, “What if we had waited one more year? Would they have loved it then?” Our time with them is so fleeting, and I feel it every day now. They are almost too heavy to carry. They call me Mom now instead of Mommy. I get my socks and my daughter’s confused because they are essentially the same size. So we danced on the boat. We ate the cake.
At the close of the boat ride, the pirate captain had them raise their right hand and recite the “Pirate’s Oath:”
“I solemnly swear to wear clean underwear.
To search for treasure and share the loot,
And drink my drink from a sailor’s boot.
I promise to eat ice cream and chocolate every day,
And pinch my brothers and sisters when my parents are away.
I’ll read my treasure map with just one eye
And be a pirate until the day I die.”