South Padre Island: My Attempt at Spontaneity Part 3 Lessons learned from a 3 year-old

Our second full day at South Padre was even better than the first one. It was simply perfect. It was sunny, but not too hot. The wind was blowing. All the kids were not only getting along, but having the time of their lives. It was one of those days where I couldn’t stop smiling. You know, the kind of day that makes life truly worth living.

One of the things I really enjoyed about the day was the way I was able to sit back and so clearly see my kids’ personalities demonstrated. They are so completely different and I love and admire them each for those differences.

Gavin, oddly enough, is my most fearful child. What I love about him though, is that he refuses to give into his fear. He confronts his fear and slowly pushes it further and further back. He reminds me of myself in this actually. I remember doing the same thing as a child.

At the beach, Gavin was initially afraid to go too far out. I don’t know if it was the undertow, the waves themselves or his overactive imagination imagining a shark swimming his way to gulp him down for breakfast. What I could tell was that he was scared, but that he didn’t want that to stop him. At first he wanted me to go out further with him, which I did (despite how cold it was!). But after a while, I watched him push himself to go further and further on his own until he wasn’t scared anymore. He pushed himself passed his fear until the fear withdrew, disappeared or became a non-issue. You have to admire that!

Then there is Arabelle. She reminds me of a little butterfly. She’s gentle and happy and peaceful. She played quietly with a big smile on her face. She made castles and she danced with her kite, but she did so in her own quiet way. You can’t help but love Arabelle. Everybody does. She reminds me of Beth from “Little Women.” Sometimes I look at her and think she is just too good for this world. Arabelle warms your heart and makes you smile. She’s just that kind of girl.

And then there is Lily. Over the last few months I’ve found myself trying to pinpoint exactly what it is about her that I admire so much. It was at the beach that I finally was able to pinpoint it.

Lily is larger than life. She’s charismatic. She’s one of those kids that everyone just seems to fall in love with. You just can’t help it. She has that x-factor. I was finally able to define that x-factor as I watched her play on the beach.

Lily loves life. She runs toward it with her arms wide open. She is uninhibited. Nothing keeps her down. She is determined to laugh and play and she pursues it, she doesn’t wait for it to come to her. Without hesitation she goes running for it.

You can see it in her approach to her best friend. Ava’s shy, even a little withdrawn, but that doesn’t stop Lily. Lily has declared Ava her best friend and she just keeps pursuing her until Ava warms up to her again. Sometimes it almost seems like Ava rejects her, but that doesn’t phase Lily. She doesn’t give up and she always ends up winning her over and then they go scampering off the best of little buddies.

You could see it as she ran into the waves shouting, “This is the best day EVER!” You saw it as she sang and danced as she flew her kite. You could see it as she played with her Daddy, as she chased seagulls, as she just lived life in the moment, wherever that moment happened to be.

I realized that this littlest daughter of mine is not only someone that I admire, but someone I want to emulate. As young as she is, she already understands something that I have yet to live out in my own life.

Life’s setbacks (yes, even a three year-old has them) are not worth dwelling on. All they do is steal your joy. Embrace them and then let them go and don’t let them keep you from running toward the future. She feels everything deeply, even her little sorrows, but she doesn’t let them keep her down.

I want to live like that. I’m glad I have this little living reminder to inspire me to be more than I am, to be more open, to be resilient and to always find a reason to laugh. It’s amazing what you can learn from a three year-old! 😀



2 thoughts on “South Padre Island: My Attempt at Spontaneity Part 3 Lessons learned from a 3 year-old

  1. Heather, thanks for sharing your thoughts on your young family from the comfort of South Padre, an island that we ourselves discovered only recently. I am thirty-some years past having young children and your observations refreshed old memories. Happy memories. Happier times.

    Larry Mulholland
    Kansas City, MO

    • I’m glad that my little story was able to bring back those memories for you. 🙂 I know I treasure the moments and already get sad thinking of my kids growing older. It goes so fast!

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