If You’re Lucky Enough to be at the Beach You Are Lucky Enough

Dear winter,
Please don’t make me slap you with my flip flop.
Sincerely,
Beach bum
-beachy keen

One last morning looking at the waves. Feet still a bit sandy. Hearts full. Hair unwashed. Still in swimsuits. Being in Med School is no joke (being a doctor is no joke) so this little tradition of saving for a holiday at the end of the year was perfect.

I’m fiercely independent and the biggest baby you will ever meet. Marriage (and a great anti depressant) has helped me find a somewhat healthy balance of the two. I was single through my 20’s and didn’t want to be. I wanted to do married stuff, so I complained a lot. I mean a lot people. I so wish I could have or would have taken the advice before me and enjoyed it more. I did find the guy that made me smile, didn’t bore me and found my crazy a little attractive. We got married. Fast. Moved to New Zealand in our first year of marriage. Found a surprise was taking up residence inside of me and was coming out in 9 months whether we liked it or not. That year was brutal. Filled with very high highs (we lived at the beach for most of it so c’mon you know that kept me sane, and around the corner was a Starbucks. Sanity in chaos. Yes I think God helped me through those first 2 years in NZ…by placing me at the beach and by a Starbucks) but the year had quite a few lows. I was a hot mess. I didn’t know how to make friends all of a sudden. I thank God all the time for the antenatal coffee group he dropped me in. They accepted me at my worst. Made me laugh to tears almost every week and were so inclusive based on their character not my awesome personality that was hoovering around a high 3 (out of 10!). I wonder as I look at pictures still through our sneaky private FB page (we are SO techy!) and send funny texts and have them cheer for me & me for them from afar, if they really know the role they played. Emotionally I was in quicksand drowning in a new culture, new marriage, this new creature that was with me all the time who was adorably cute but who I had no real good connection with for months, yet each week Friday was my favourite day. I looked forward to it. I started counting down from Saturday. I kind of new I was pathetic and they all had other friends throughout the week, but I didn’t really and that was a first for this person that thinks checkout ladies are her friend. But I SO didn’t care. I was going Friday whatever state I was in and they were going to compliment me, say my baby was awesome and cheer for everyone. Sigh. I guess some years there is one thing or just a few that make those years great. I was starting to be a little less baby like & a little more independent again.

Then we moved. Very far away. To a very cold place. And my selfish coffee group did not come. Whatever. I can do hard things, right? Nope. I still wasn’t my independent self yet. I tried to just embrace it and not say “this isn’t really me” to every person I met, nor say “I don’t feel like myself” because this was me in this moment. It wasn’t my favourite version of myself but it was me. After a crazy tumultuous couple years, living in a new culture, before iMessage and apps were really out (praise God for Apple, seriously) now I had an amazingly brave husband shooting for the moon and trying to get into Med School. Whew. I get tired just reading my life. As my husband entered official Med School this year (year 2 of 6) my footing started coming back. I no longer was SO needy with my cute hubby but we found this beautiful dance of me living my dreams and searching for some new ones and he working like crazy for his and somewhere they began to overlap again. He headed to Med School day in and day out and my son and I had full days often collapsing into bed. We were connected most of the year even though our schedules were painfully different and our focus. I would like to say my doctor/medical sitcoms were part of understanding his life more, but he said that was a stretch and didn’t agree. Whatever. I still felt the healthy rhythm of being independent and interdependent come back this year.

As summer approached I went in with huge excitement. We would get to spend so much time together and I wouldn’t have to be strong and be okay with his time commitments and focus. Yeah, so that really didn’t happen. Summer has been rough. I’m working tons, he’s working tons, but the thing is we are working opposite shifts. I’m done at 3:30, he’s starting at 4 and I can’t say I’ve been the nicest most compassionate version of myself and I think he might say the same. So I panicked. I started being more bratty and weird and quite frankly annoying (even to myself). That would totally make it easy for us to connect, right? We have had a few discussions of the loud nature. And I dealt with some grief that slammed me for a few weeks. Yet I felt like I heard in my heart a promise of connection for us from God. It wasn’t audible. It was just this peaceful thought I knew was God. A provision that God knew what we needed because all my work and all his work was not adding up to the savings I envisioned and planned on.

That said I had no idea what this vacation would be like. Staying in a hotel ten minutes from your house made 95% of the people look at you like you were crazy. I doubted for a split second what we were doing.

Then we arrived. Views that fill our grouchy souls. Reminders of God through crashing waves. Someone making my bed, cleaning my bathroom, doing my dishes, doing and folding my laundry, and bringing me fresh towels daily. Amen and amen. All the while staring at the beach, seeing a little four year old run in and out of waves. And so much good time with my husband. Med School is hard, but life and relationships are hard not just for people in Med School. No matter what. It’s just hard. It’s why we say a lot around here “love you no matter what,” stolen shamelessly from my gorgeous friend April Diaz. This is what we needed, the rhythm of our life will never be 9-5. It’s not my husband. It’s not me. I’m looking forward to these family building holidays. I put on Instagram the other day after a hard year this holiday was perfectly perfect. Maybe it was my low expectations with having to work some days. Maybe it was exhaustion wondering if it was worth our financial sacrifice. Maybe I was too tired to hope. Or more accurately too scared. But around my neck from my beautiful friend Rebecca who passed into heaven last week was a key that said HOPE. It wasn’t exactly from her as for her in her fight for life on earth. At one point right before holiday I looked down at my HOPE necklace and said, “Damn you Rebecca you knew it, you somehow knew this hope wasn’t for you. You were good. You were heading towards the kind God you adored. You did this for all of us that needed hope this year.” Between Shannon’s clever creative mind to sell them as a fundraiser and Rebecca’s legacy, none of us were going to get away without hoping as we said good bye to 2014. And the beauty of it is that the story of these necklaces is to keep it until you see someone who needs it more than you. (Seriously the most creative loving cool company ever! Check it out

As my husband packs up around me and I sit here typing (I’m sure he’s totally thrilled I’m in denial right now not moving from the deck) staring at the ocean wishing for just one more night I’m just so incredibly thankful. Good bye beautiful ocean. Good bye sandy 4 year old toes. Good bye living in swim suits. Good bye not making meals. (Yes!) Good bye 2014. Good bye maid service. (Dang it!!! Might have been my favourite part of 2014. Don’t judge. I hate cleaning and cooking so this was a dream come true!)

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