On Saturday, Rob and I dropped everyone off with their other parent and started our trip down to the Outer Banks.

It is “My 40th Birthday” trip. When trying to think how to celebrate my birthday, I decided I wanted to return to the beach that I loved so much last summer, and have a peaceful week of walking the beach, listening to the waves, reading, writing, eating seafood and exploring more of the Outer Banks with my man. This was how I wanted my “adult” celebration for my 40th birthday. On my actual 40th birthday (and that week – which is next week) I will celebrate with all the loves of my lives and I’m excited for that too!

But this week, is just for grown ups:) Rob found a magnificent beach house in a more secluded area of the Outer Banks (Rodanthe to be more specific)  than where we were last summer. He planned the drive down and found a route that was much more beautiful and scenic too – which he enjoyed driving all the twists and curves. We stopped in a little town called Front Royal in Virginia and spent the night, before continuing on to shop at some outlets and finally arrive at the beautiful beach. After quick pizza dinner, we relaxed in our hot tub under the stars and listening to the rolling of the waves. Magical.

This morning we awoke (well, I awoke and then naturally had to wake Rob:)) to the most spectacular sunrise I have ever seen:

We then went for a long long walk down the beach. Along the way we soaked up the sunshine, let our feet touch the freezing water, and even stopped and saw a stingray a fisherman had caught!

We also saw two baby sharks washed up on shore. One was quite dead – as the birds had already had their fill of him, and the other little guy was still perfect – but slowly dying. Rob picked him up and threw him back into the ocean where he flopped around before swimming away.

 Ah, my hero. Of course, I forgot what he had touched and reached out to grab his hand walking on the beach and was a bit grossed out when I remembered he now had shark hands! Love him anyways! Hey, he saved the life of a shark today! Rob! Who is deathly afraid of sharks (ok…it was a tiny little, harmless dog shark – but still!)

We spent the remainder of the morning on our balcony, soaking in the sun and watching the families of dolphins swim by. There seems to be a family of about 7-10 of them swimming back and forth in front of us. So cool! (Pictures really don’t do it justice – hard to catch the little guys!)

The sounds and views of the waves from our balcony are pretty amazing. This house is a find!

The waves reminded me of a note I received a few days ago before leaving from a colleague – who has also become a good friend now. The note was a “Have a great trip” note – but it ended with “So glad you are swimming in the waves now”.

This brought me back to a conversation I had had with her about 5 years ago. I remember the exact conversation – and where I was when we had the conversation even. I had pulled off on the side of a country road – we were having a discussion about one of our mutual clients and the reception for my cell was terrible on certain roads, so I had pulled to the side so I could talk to her without losing her. It was winter and freezing cold. After we chatted about our work stuff, she asked me how things were going. At the time, I was doing fairly well. I had taken the attitude that I was just focusing on my boys (5.5 and 4 years at the time) and not going to worry about anything else. Everything else was too discouraging – especially the dating scene. The potential for ever finding happiness and love again was nonexistant. I was lonely and sad and frustrated with being lonely and sad, but wanted to not wallow in any self pity because of my boys. She said to me: “Right now you are in the waves and they are knocking you down, dragging you under, and you feel like you are drowning. Every time you get your bearings and stand up, another waves comes and knocks you down. But one day, I promise you, one day, a wave will come along and it will not knock you down, but it will carry you out to the sea, where you will be able to play in it, and float, and swim gloriously in that water. That day will come”.

Even though I have told my friend how much this meant to me, I’m not sure she will ever comprehend how much it really meant to me. The waves were scary, and overwhelming, and knocking me down at that time. I never believed that I would again see the beauty of swimming in the sea.

Today, as I watch them come rolling in, as I listen to them come crashing down, as my feet touch the icy water, and as I watch the dolphin family swim in the distance, I am so very very very grateful that I am swimming and floating and playing in the waves again. I never thought it was going to be possible. But, here I am, a short 5 years later. Swimming, with my own little dolphin family:)

It’s amazing how those waves can mean such different things depending on where you are at. They can either be debilitating, knocking you down, taking you over, pulling you down; or they can be magical, freeing, and can carry you out to play in the sea. As Josh said last summer, when I was playing in the waves with him and feeling a little intimidated, “Mom. You have to love the wave. You have to think like the wave. You have to be the wave”.

I AM finally the wave, Josh. I get it now. You have no idea. I am swimming in the waves.

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