“We don’t want to be late because we want them to take the kids again someday!” I reminded my husband, trying to prod him along as he woke up from his nap on the beach and put on his shoes.
That morning my parents had picked up all three kids for the day so that we could have a day to ourselves. When my husband asked me what I wanted to do, I said, “Something we can’t do with kids.” So we decided to have brunch at our favorite restaurant and then hike down to the beach. Yes, we go to the beach with the kids, but we don’t get to take a nap or read a book at the beach when we’re with the kids. And that is just what we spent the afternoon doing–my husband napping and I reading.
As I was repacking the backpack–water bottle, sunblock, book, towel–I heard a woman farther down the beach give an excited scream. I looked her way and saw that she had jumped out of her beach chair and was scanning the ocean excitedly.
“Did you see that?” my husband asked.
“See what?” I responded.
“That orca! It came up out of the water about 150 feet from the shore.”
“Are you serious?!?!” I exclaimed. I felt a lump form in my stomach as that feeling of wanting to go back in time and do something differently washed over me. I have lived in Seattle for almost 11 years, and ever since I’ve moved here I have wanted to see an orca. And now I missed my chance because I was too busy being responsible and hurrying to get home on time! If only you were more relaxed and not so worried all the time, I berrated myself, then you would have seen the orca like everyone else on the beach!
“It was right over there,” my husband gestured towards the water. “It’ll probably come up again.”
I kept my eyes on the ocean, scanning from left to right for any sign of the orca surfacing again. If it came up again, I was not going to miss it this time. Please, please, please, I silently prayed. All thoughts of the time vanished as I stared at the white caps being whipped up by the blowing wind on this sunny, but windy, afternoon.
“There he is,” my husband said, pointing a little to our left. I followed the direction of his arm, and…I saw him! For just a few seconds he came up to the surface before diving back down again, his massive tail gracefully slipping into the water before he vanished. The lump in my stomach melted away, replaced by a warm energy that rejuvenated my body and mind, eliminating all of my negative thoughts.
I jumped to my feet. “I saw an orca!” I shouted happily. “I can’t believe it-this is incredible!” My husband smiled as me, not quite understanding how seeing something so briefly could make me so excited, but glad that it did.
As we hiked back up the bluff to our car, our beautiful day away coming to an end, I decided that I am going to try to spend more of my energy enjoying the present moment and less energy worrying or stressing over things that need to happen.
But in case you were wondering, we were only 20 minutes late to get the kids.