We just spent the day hunting for fossils. There are a few beaches along the Chesapeake Bay where fossilized shark teeth are in abundance. Beach + Fossils = Kids in Heaven. The kids were super-excited. I was looking forward to a day of both fun and relaxation. The weather was perfect. Turns out, the kids’ attitudes, not so much.
The day started off with high hopes. A friendly beachcomber taught us how to find the fossils, and what exactly to look for. Go to the edge of the water, find spots where there are rocks and pebbles, and look for dark triangles. Both kids started off strong, tossing tooth after tooth into their respective buckets. Then the Boy started getting distracted…by other kids splashing in the bay, by the seagulls, by the sand, by…
I watched him walk to and fro, all over the beach, from the water to the parking lot. Sometimes he would stop and stare off into space. Sometimes he’d race along the beach. When he noticed his sister’s bucket was filling up faster than his, he started to frantically pace along the water, and then….
Whiiiiinnnne… “That’s not fair! I can’t find any fossils! How come she has them all? This is haaard…I’m booooored…whinewhinewhinewhinewhine”
I start to explain how his sister and I are slowly and methodically looking, whereas his frenetic energy and lack of focus prevent him from seeing the small fossils. This, of course, falls on deaf ears. And all I can hear are his whines of how difficult this is and this just sucks and it’s not fair and…This is precisely where I ignore the Boy.
He continues to dart all over and make the motions of hunting for fossils. He finally comes over to me, and asks “What are you doing?”
I, being the really good mother that I am, ignore him. I am sitting on the beach where the water laps against the shore, and I’m picking the fossils out one by one in a steady rhythm. He kneels down next to me and watches me. He finally sits down and observes, “You’re just being still. It brings you what you need.”
That kid is a genius, and this time I’m not just saying it because he’s my kid. Yes, I’m being still and life gives me what I need. Well, the water in this case. The water washed in the fossils and I didn’t have to move. I did not have to go seek out what I wanted. I just had to sit still and pay attention and wait.