I’m sitting here on a balcony twelve floors up … watching my husband and my 3-year-old daughter play in the sand down by the waves while my little dude takes an early morning nap inside. (You know – to make up for the two hours he was wide awake last night.)

Outside of the tranquil sound of the waves and the occasional joyful squeal of a child running away from a wave in the distance… It’s really, really (beautifully) quiet up here on this balcony … an opportunity for me to sit still for a second with nowhere to be and nothing on the to-do list except take in the adorable scene happening below me.  Because even though there are tons of other beach-goer distractions and sounds around her, I have blinders toward them … it’s like the sun is shining right down on that wet pony tail while she follows her daddy around with tools for him to build her a princess sandcastle, taking a break every so often to do a little twirl in her own little world. She has looked so big to me lately, I love seeing her as a little freckle of a pink bathing suit in the midst of the giant ocean and miles of sand landscape. This is completely one of those “life is really awesome” moments.

Vacation for me has always been an opportunity to put a weed wacker to the daily chaos of home – and to just “be” for a little bit. And enjoy uninterrupted time with my family.

… To wake up at 6am with my no-concept-of-time son and play on an almost vacant beach… Chasing the seagulls, getting our shorts splashed in the waves and then having him lay on my shoulder when he starts to feel the side effects of his extra-early wake-up time.

… To give my daughter my undivided attention in the pool as she jumps off the shallow-end steps for the 64th time in her oversized goggles and is just as excited on the 65th.

… To give my husband the “you go ahead honey – stay down here and enjoy the sun and the pool with her and I’ll go in the room for the baby’s nap”…  when the truth is I really enjoy the time sitting up here on this balcony without a responsibility to be had.

It’s about disconnecting with reality and all of its distractions, and reconnecting with everything that matters.

Like that little tanned-leg flower-waisted bathing suit wearer in the sand down below me.  And the man who makes her (and my) world so safe, so whole and so much fun. And the little boy sleeping silently in the monitor beside me brewing up the energy to be a non stop machine for the rest of the day.  And that soon-to-be addition to our family who grows so innocently inside of my belly.  And myself… reconnecting with who I authentically am and giving myself permission to have fun, to relax and to recharge.

THAT is everything that matters.  THIS… Is life.

But in the midst of this blissful state… I let the thought of the first day we walk in the house from vacation creep in.  That house that is a mess from the chaos of packing a week before. The computer that awaits me with emails and editing.   The lawn that will need mowed and the empty fridge that will require a grocery run.  The stove that will stare at me and challenge me to come up with a meal every night and actually find time to cook it in the midst of a work-filled and kid-chasing day.

And in an instant…  that calm, happy, alive-ness washes right back out into that ocean.  My shoulders droop and my stomach gets a knot.  To think about going home to that cycle of monotony and distractions and stresses… ugh.  Why can’t I feel the way I feel right now on this balcony all of the time?

And I stopped myself for a second.

And I really thought about that.

Why CAN’T I have this vacation-bliss feeling all of the time?  What’s my excuse? What’s holding me back?

The answer is… I am

I let the distraction weeds grow and overcome me. I CHOOSE to see the mess in the house instead of the people that made it.  I choose to see the computer instead of the privilege to have an office in my home. I choose to focus on the dinner preparation instead of the conversation we get to have as a family while eating it.  I choose to make cleaning a priority when I know it’s not. I choose chaos over calmness.

And that ocean of distractions will ALWAYS be there. And it is MY CHOICE whether or not to focus on it. To let it overcome me, or to let the light shine through instead onto those little freckle of things that are truly important in the midst of it.

So today I vow to not let the “Vacation Brea” disappear with the tide the minute our car turns back north.  Nope… she’s coming with me.  With all of her calmness. Her happiness. Her “so myself”-ness. And her freakin-aliveness.