Standing on the Shoreline

Shortly after the sun rose, the boys made their way up the stairs to enjoy breakfast with an ocean view. Beach play immediately followed. As our caravan of kids made their way to the crashing waves, one kid was left behind. 


Four is hard. Four is no longer a baby, but it isn’t quite a child. 

In the pack of four kids, Chet is the only one who can’t swim. He is the only one was left on the shoreline watching waves as the other three kids caught waves. 

Four is hard. 

The first three days on the beach, the waves were aggressive. The shore break churned up the sand. Chet wasn’t ready to make his way past the crashing waves, but he wanted to be included in the fun. 

Four is hard. 

Digging holes and chasing crabs kept him happy for a moment, but his eyes kept gazing to the ocean. He wanted to be with the big kids. 

Four is hard. 

Some mornings we made our way back to the beach house. Some mornings we watched the waves from the deck while eating goldfish. 

On the third day, I asked his brother to pause for a moment before swimming out into the ocean. Maybe he could spend a few minutes with Chet jumping waves before he caught waves of his own. This changed the rest of the day on the beach. Chet didn’t feel left out or alone. 

On the forth day When Chet woke up, he said he was ready to go home. He didn’t want to go to the beach. He didn’t want to stand on the shore line for another day. But the current had changed. The waves were gentle. The water was glassy. When he realized he could surf too, his eyes revealed his happiness. It was his chance to be one of the kids. 


As I watched my boys play during our beach vacation, I couldn’t help but wonder. How many times are we all the four year old stuck on the shore? How many times do we need someone to stand beside us because we aren’t ready just yet to catch our own wave? How many times do we miss the perfect wave because the days before left us disappointed? 

If parenting is teaching me one thing over and over again, it is that being stuck in the middle is one of the hardest places to be. 

Four is hard. 

The middle is hard. 

Whether we are stuck on the middle of the mountain or on the shore line, the lesson is the same. To truly live life, you have to embrace the messy middle. Beginning may be the hardest step and the finish line may be the moment of shining success, but the middle holds the magic. The middle takes work. The middle takes commitment. The middle produces results. 

“The middle is messy, but it is also where the magic happens. ~Brene Brown

Parenting these two vastly different and equally awe-inspiring boys of mine is a continuous test of the middle. 

Exploring my life, constantly reaching for my potential, is a continuous test of the middle. 

Four days with my boys and our dear friends in the Outer Banks was the perfect reminder of the lessons my heart needs while living in the middle. This chapter of my life is closing. In 18 days I will enter a new chapter. I will begin a new career. I will ask my family to join me in this journey. 

We will find ourselves in the middle, and we will know that we are living. Some days we may watch the waves crash  along the shore, but some times we get the chance to ride the wave. No matter what, we have to keep showing up while standing besides each other while looking for the perfect conditions. 

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