I have not had a great week. A combination of small annoyances and a piece of unexpected news. There has been no great tragedy. There is no risk to my or any of my family’s health. The things that have gotten me down will be of no consequence in a few months time. I am a resilient person. Not by choice or by birth-right. But you walk through the shattered glass and you become numb to pain. Wounds close over and leave tough callouses. And when the shards you walk upon belong to your scattered heart, you quickly learn the difference between the things that matter and the things that do not. But despite having this perspective, the monkey still climbs on my back. With his claws of self-doubt and a weight that has me questioning my value.
I had to do some thing to shake him free. And with the monkey on my back, I went to Stradbroke Island with my boys and my parents.
There is a sense of freedom the moment you step onto that sacred place. The monkey loosened his grip as my feet found the sand. He very nearly left as we watched a wild fur seal playing at the rocks near the surf club. The seal danced in the ocean, turning as the waves rolled over him. Casting a wary eye our way. We passed a kangaroo on a walk, the monkey shied away but he didn’t flee. As I took in the view, the ocean and the beach stretching for miles, the monkey felt lighter, but he clung on still.
It wasn’t until I dived into the ocean and let the salt water rush over my body that the monkey finally sensed defeat. The cleansing power of salt and surf and the enormity of water finally shaking doubts free. I dived under the waves, aching for the silence. Just me and the ocean. As I came up for air, the water caught the sunshine rays and blinded me with its sparkle. There is joy and magic and healing within the waves. There is alchemy in the white crests that crashed around me. I lay, weightless, in the ocean. Letting the waves catch me and the worries float away.
Like all mothers, these moments for myself are snatched. I wanted to stay in the wilderness that dwarfed my problems, but I promised Isaac I would only be a few minutes.
As I approached the shore, I saw that Isaac was very upset. He had watched me go out beyond the breakers and was seized by anxiety. And I was reminded that he knows more about the reality of loss than any little boy should. Elijah’s chubby little arms reached for me as soon as he realised I was near. And I was reminded that, more than any one on earth, this little person needed me. And here is a different kind of wildness. A different kind of healing and perspective. And as I gathered my boys into my arms, I watched the monkey fade away.