It is hurricane season again, and I am torn between hoping it is not as busy as the last two for all the damage and loss of life, and knowing that it is predicted to be another doozy which is good for business. Many people work very hard, and everyone thinks they work harder than the next person. The fact is, that sometimes the “hardest” work is not the full on 10-12 hour shift of taking care of demanding patients and skipping breaks or the demanding job where you have to be “on” throughout your entire work day. Some jobs never end. There is no leaving because there is no “office”. Sometimes a job is demanding because it forces you to be away for the majority of a month or more, driving in heavy traffic every day and taking calls 24 hours a day, and on weekends too. That is my husband’s job. I am lucky to get to travel with him some but I am busy too, and these months leading up to and during hurricane season are hectic, to say the least. We try to find things to do close to home when he is here, even though the majority of time we prefer to stay home when we can. I have not seen much of him this last 4 weeks or so, so I planned a little fun early morning activity for us later this week. I was watching one of those house hunter shows about beach properties and there were some little kids and their parents sifting for shark’s teeth. It looked like they were all having a good time, and we live less than 30 minutes from several beaches both in Georgia and Florida. I watched a few videos to get the basics, and ordered a sand sifter. Then I did some recon on some of the best places to look near me, and found a nice little area to hunt and then go to lunch. Since the best time to look for teeth is during low tide, we will have to be flexible on timing so that we can be there when our chances are best.
It’s kind of funny to me that two people at our age that have no small children nearby are actually excited to do a childlike activity, but that is the way it is. My husband has had a job of some sort since he was 12 years old. He worked at a fast food joint at 12 (legally), and one day he was taking the old grease out to dump and it dropped and splattered his legs. They put him in a sink full of ice and never called his parents or took him to the hospital. People talk about the “good ol’ days” all the time. I see several OSHA violations by today’s standards. These things are the things I remember from those days, where children did not matter at all when it came to child labor. He did not have the opportunity to play sports and often stayed home while his family went on vacations so he would not miss work. He loved having his own income, but like me, his work ethic attracted people that loved his generosity more than they loved him. At first it feels good to provide and watch your loved ones enjoy the fruits of your labor. It’s nice to know your spouse is happy and every parent should want better for their family, right? Then you find yourself working harder for no real gain and when you do that your entire life, you grow older realizing that you missed out on a big part of what it is to be young and you feel a bit of loss for what you missed while worrying about everyone else. The more money you make, the more money gets spent, without a thought for the future. Workhorses are rarely seen running free on the beach. Work horses live in constant fear that if they don’t keep earning enough to cover the ever growing expenses, that everything they have worked for will be lost. They take nothing for granted. It’s a bit like being in a storm and never getting a chance to see the rainbow or the beauty afterward. We will make time for that now, even if it is a little effort to break old habits.
It is hard for him to enjoy any time off unless business is also being taken care of. He still loves his work, and I can’t see him retiring any time soon. In the meantime, I will not be a drain financially or emotionally because we understand each other and I will not be the cause of his demise. Things will never make me happier than time. I will find ways to get him to places where he can have fun. He is much more enthusiastic and outgoing than I am once we are there, not matter where “there” is. I have to reel him in occasionally when he gets too crazy and forgets his age because he sees no limits, but it is hard to get him to take time off to do the things he loves. Shark tooth hunting just sounds like a fun way to get away without really leaving “home” or the “office”. It is also nice to do something neither one of us has ever done, but those types of adventures aren’t too hard to come by. The easiest way to convince the man that he needs a break is to tell him that we need to do recon for the gandsons’ next trip. He will do anything for them. So, that is the approach I took. It is easy to find all kinds of videos of kids and adults enjoying their beach time and hunting for teeth, and the nice lunch will seal the deal. I’m always hesitant to blog about my secret treasures because then they won’t be “secret” anymore, but they aren’t mine anyway, so I will share if I see or do anything spectacular. I love where we live, even the hurricanes, gnats, and the crazy people that like to blow things up (I may or may not be one of them).
It is fun to explore an area so different than where I have ever lived before. I will always love Iowa but it is good to know that I am not making that choice only because I have never been anywhere else, and that is where my family is. Travel if you can, take off work to have a “me” day, use your vacation for yourself once in awhile and not just for your parents or your kids. I think generational differences in parenting set certain people up for this type of situation. Most of the parents of children in our generation raised their kids in a free range manner that allowed our parents ultimate freedom and put more responsibility on their children. Our parents always had time for a round of golf or a trip to get away. Some of us raised our children in the same manner but more of us went a different direction, as generations will do, and raised our kids in a more protective manner. We were more involved in their activities, leaving little time for our own. It’s hard to say which way is better but being the one that is responsible in every stage of life can be draining. I have no regrets, and I succeeded in providing better for my family than I had even if it was not the best of everything. A more dependable partner at the time would have made a huge difference too. If I could do anything different though, I would definitely have demanded that some of my hard work and time go to things I enjoyed in my young adulthood instead of always being about and for someone else. Teaching others that you are okay with putting them ahead of yourself all the time teaches them that it is okay to abuse that privilege. I learned a big lesson about trust during that time, and big lessons are always valuable even if they are hard. Some people are put in our life to teach us why storms are given human names, and also to show us how beautiful life can be when they are gone.
For now, we will reclaim our youth and do what we want to within reason. At this point that means a lot of hanging out with our kids because they are extremely cool human beings who we love to be around, and the grands are our favorite playmates. They are hilarious and uninhibited by any adult notion of shame or guilt, so they are free to be themselves. Every new adventure is amazing to them. When they aren’t around, we don’t need surrogates. We can be children too. Even though life can be a huge storm sometimes, there is always beauty to be found in the aftermath. The below picture is very nearby to our home. Finding beauty is easy, taking time for ourselves is the obstacle.