I watch my son play on the beach, he scoops up the sand and slowly releases it. For him the ocean is his paradise a place he can unwind, somewhere to hide from his Autism. Somewhere to escape the noise and chaos of a day at school. No other place has the same calming effect. He jumps up, shaking the sand out of his hair. The persistent seagulls squabble and fight for bread crumbs sending him into fits of giggling.
My daughter with stick in hand, draws pictures in the wet sand. I listen to the lazy lap of the waves. Close my eyes, breath deep and wrinkle my nose at the stale smell of dried seaweed sitting at my feet. There is nothing like an evening on the beach, usually the wind and waves are thunderous. Tonight a gentle breeze and a calm sea. When my eyes reach the sky I am lost in a pastel haze. A feeling of serenity washes over me and I know I have to savour the moments.
My children run along the water’s edge digging their toes in and watch the water curl around their ankles. Our summer has flown. We play hide and seek behind the giant boulders, climbing in between the rocks looking for crabs and sea stars, our weekend autumn escape. We look forward to our visits to Nan’s place.
For me the ocean brings ideas for stories. I ponder on my time management. It is fair to say I would write all day, if I was able. Yet life gets in the way. The thing about life, is it never goes the way you think it will. Time bandits visit my house daily. Pinching minutes, even the stuff I stash away in the draws to use in an emergency. My children call out, breaking my thoughts, they know when I am not listening, when I am not present in their world.
“Mum it is time to go, look there are other people coming.” My daughter points to a family walking towards us. My son runs to the beach bag and drags out a pair of earmuffs, putting them on. Our peaceful hiding place uncovered, as Autism finds us once more.
“It is ok, there are no screaming babies.”
“Mum I want to go now!” I try to persuade him, but he only becomes anxious, we have danced this routine over and over, some days he can tolerate screaming, most days he cannot. You would be amazed at how many people scream when your child is sensitive to it.
“Mum let’s go.” He is off before I can argue. More afraid of what noise might happen then what we actually hear. Yet for us the little moments are all we have.
Balancing the Moments
Our family does things differently than most. My journey bumps along the highway of life and I hold tight to the image of the beach, the simple pleasures. Trying to find a balance between my writing and my family is a constant challenge. I have found a method in the mix, I write when I can. Family comes first, most of the time.
The other morning I woke at 4.30am with a brilliant idea for a short story. Moments like these are golden. I never miss that kind of opportunity. My mind is alert and eager to write even though I will pay dearly when the day comes to a close. I know there are days when I wonder why I have this burning need to write. Yet I also know, it is awesome to show the kids I am a positive force. I often tell them that it is never too late to follow their dreams.
We all have our challenges, they make us stronger. We are all here to learn and if we are not learning what is the point? The wonderful thing is when my children see me working madly on my keyboard, they show me what they are working on. Oh what a beautiful place, watching them shine with bright ideas.
I give thanks everyday for a new sunrise and stay the optimist. Life is good and I will write on, laugh lots and enjoy my passion, it is what keeps me sane. Tell me what keeps you going, when life gets in the way? Have you found that perfect balance between your passion and the busy highway of life?