Years ago I wrote a poem called “The Sandcastle Days” capturing life with little kids at the beach. Seeing our kids discover and fall in love with such a special place to me was like unwrapping an all-time favorite gift for the first time.
Seven years later, our family spent fall break at that same beach, and I remembered the poem and read it to the kids. They laughed seeing their pictures: short and sandy legs, little shovels, colored floaties, round cheeks and big smiles. It made me cry, not because I miss those days, but because I am thankful to be their mom and see them grow into who they are.
At ages 11, 9 and 7, life looks so different now. That season paved the way for this one. And this one is special in a totally different way; it’s the sweet spot between toddler and teenager, between diapers and driving. The kids are old enough for adventures, but too young to go on them without us. They are curious, responsible and relational, but their favorite people are still us.
Their ages were my favorite of childhood, so to see this season through their eyes is a precious gift. With full and fast days, it’s a gift I rarely have time to reflect on. So I decided at the beach that the “Sandcastle Days” needed a sequel. I asked Mary, John and Anna what they would name this season of life. They thought about it and Mary quickly replied, “These are the Catching Days!”
I hope you enjoy:
The Catching Days
Mom, I caught one,
Come and see!
Aren’t you proud of me?
We caught some fish way out there,
We swim out deep; we are not scared.
But you’re the first one we show
When we’ve caught something on our own.
I caught a lizard in my net,
Can I make it a habitat?
I will fill it with some grass,
I learned how in Science class.
Here comes a wave, we can catch it,
Will you watch us ride?
Come on out, you won’t get cold
Or caught up in that tide.
We’ll catch a wave, a joke, a ball,
A thought you have that’s not so small,
Sand dollars, jellyfish,
The wonder of a great big wish.
Throw out some humor—it’s contagious,
Deep thoughts to us are not outrageous.
Our minds are the perfect combination
Of reality and imagination.
Snorkeling, paddle boats, and more,
These things are no longer beyond our shore.
Sandbars are a celebration,
Shirley Temples on occasion,
We’ll write a story, draw you a picture,
Cook our lunch as an adventure.
Broken bones and injuries
Will keep us praying on our knees,
But momma can sleep in peace at night
Knowing childhood hearts have cares still light.
Please tuck us in, I know it’s late
But we still have so much to say.
And you’re the one that we want there
To hear our stories and our prayers.
Our afternoons, they are so crazy
With all the many sports,
Beach days to us, they are amazing
Team Taylor and sand forts.
One team, but we each now
Have different things to say
Listen to our hearts,
Catch them if you may:
Can I wear your shoes?
Mom, I think they’ll fit me!
Balderdash, I can play
Though you may still outwit me.
Both little lady and big kid,
To grow up, I’m so ready.
Please remind me in this in between
That your love is steady.
Dad, will you play catch with me?
Let’s go and throw the ball
Baseball, football, any sport
You want to coach this fall.
Don’t I look so tough
In my catcher’s gear?
Hey Dad, can I sit with you?
It’s awesome when you’re near!
I try so hard
To catch up,
At least I’m older
Than the pup!
Catch me in a photograph,
My missing teeth will make you laugh.
But my smile will light your world,
I’ll always be your little girl.
These days are full and oh so fast,
Action packed, they are a blast.
Not much time to take them in,
But I wonder if when we get to the end…
If all life’s days came passing by,
If these are the ones we’d want to hold tight.
The sun is setting on this season
Which is one of many reasons
To catch the gift of this day,
To pause, listen, and hear God say…
It’s a delight to invite you to share my view,
And with you, momma, I smile,
How sweet to agree, it’s amazing to see—
The becoming of your child.