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The Enlightened Sun by Noreen Heffernan


Last week, my husband and I went away on vacation without the kids. So no it was not a business trip, it was truly a vacation; a face in the sun type of vacation. A “let’s get breakfast at 11 because we can,” type of vacation. We recharged. When I returned, I stopped giving my kids the death glare. You know that look, eyes like slits with the furrowed brow as you get demanded “MORE MILK MAMA!!” This is what vacation does; it allows you to take a long, easy breath while lazily walking, easily laughing, and sleeping as you wish; nobody making demands. Heaven! Hello? Find time. Make time. It allows us to appreciate the daily grind when we get away from it for a little while.

When I sat poolside, I watched everyone but mostly, I watched the families. I watched them all day and all night. I saw a mom grind her teeth while she told her son to “stop splashing his sister.” I saw toddlers running by with moms begging them to “WAIT!” I giggled and opened my 770 page book…”Oh, I’ve got the time for this.” I was LOVING not being them. I also saw a dad throwing his daughter up in the air in the pool as they laughed (cute and fun) and I saw a mom holding a banana in one hand and a sippy cup in the other, squatting in her tankini (not appealing). I smiled and then I did a handstand in the water. FREEDOM!

Later that night at dinner, I watched a mom dancing with her 7 year old daughter to calypso music at a cute restaurant with white lights flickering all around. Magical. How I know that her daughter will never forget that. I won’t forget that image either. It brought tears to my margarita induced heavy-lidded eyes. “Cheers, a toast to them,” I said and laughed. I appreciated every image. I respected them. But, none of them made me wish my children were there. I’m just being honest. I was happy to be away with my husband. I know we deserved it. We all do.

You know what conversation always comes up when we are away from the kids…the 3rd kid. We can talk this thing to its death. For real. Remember when I wrote, “Limitless,” and I talked about knowing our limits; what we can and can’t handle. Being away, it made me realize how lucky I am with what I have. And as I heard my 2 year old on the other end of the line say, “more yogurt please,” over and over as I got an update from my mom, I realized that right now, I’m at mine. “Gosh, she is 2,” my mom said. Yes she is. Terrible and 2. Even her teachers had to ask my friend, “Umm, when is Noreen coming back?” I laughed but I knew…I’ve hit my limits in terms of children at this point in my life. Can it change? Possibly. But, not right now. And as the time ticks away, I’m not sure it ever will. It is hard work. It is wonderful and hard, wonderfully hard. Being away helped me gain clarity about it. I am so happy with my place right now. Why would I change that? Why do we do that? Why do we insist on rocking the boat just as we get to smooth waters? Why can’t we allow ourselves to breathe through life just as we breathe through vacation? Deep slow breaths of peace.

We made friends with a family of 4; tight knit and fun. Happy go lucky. We got to talking and I asked her why she didn’t “go for the third.” How rude, right? I know, but I had a few mudslides under my belt so whatever. “I regret it now,” she said. “Why?” I needed to know why she regretted it when she created such a wonderfully close family. I loved their dynamic. “Because I like to be needed,” she said. “I like people to need me.” Interesting. When she left, I looked at my husband and he looked at me. “Well, that’s not you,” he said. Indeed. I definitely do not like to be needed. In fact, I do a back flip every single time one of my kids can do something for themselves. “You got dressed by yourself…YES!” Backflip. “You don’t need me to spoon feed you anymore….Hallelujah!!!” Backflip. I like independence. I always have. I want my children to be independent and I want to feel that independence as well (in small doses at least). I turned back to my book and flipped the page (pg. 412). Not bad.

I’ll never close the door on anything in my life, ever. But, I will be aware of what I want in each moment. And I will also allow myself to change my mind. After all, we are ever-evolving humans. We want what we want when we want it. And, we have a chance to make it happen, whatever that is. For me, I realized what I want in my life at this moment…

Are you trying to make a decision? Make it during a happy moment, not a miserable one. Make it when you are at peace with yourself. Only then will you know if it is right.It is easy to obtain clarity when you are away from the situation.

It is easy to appreciate your life when you have a little distance from it.

It is easy to understand yourself better, when you understand what you want for yourself.

It is easy to see the light, when you have the sun in your face.

Happy Spring!

~Noreen Heffernan,Writer, MA in Public and Corporate Communications, Certified in PR Writer, Growing Ladies

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