The Sand Dunes of Indiana

This evening, I took a moment to reflect over the last three weeks of August. One word that seems to describe everything I’ve been working through — “heavy”.

Last week, my sister and I took her three boys to Indiana to visit the sand dunes. It was a trip we had been looking forward to all summer and one thing is for sure, a trip with my sister and her boys never goes as planned. Quite the opposite actually. We’ll get there when we get there and as long as the boys are playing happily (and not beating each other up) everything is going okay!

My sister and I have been going through some rough times and this trip seemed to be a good representation of our lives. As she trudged up the sand dunes, she kept yelling, “I can’t quit. I’m not a quitter, but I’m exhausted.” It really was exhausting hiking up a hill of sand and I was no better since I’ve stopped running. But she was right. The dunes became a metaphor for the struggles we go through in life. Somedays we’re at the bottom of a sandy dune and the only way out is to climb up.

IMG_9796After two dunes, we came to the final sand dune and I found myself staring at a lot of old wooden steps. Now, I don’t have any real phobia’s nor am I afraid of heights. But I absolutely hate old wooden steps — and these were the exact type I despise. The story behind this, I’ll spare myself the embarrassment and tell you another day.

So standing at the bottom of those creaky old steps, I knew it was time to climb up. With my half-broken phone tightly held in one hand and my nephew’s Batman shoes in the other, I slowly took step by step up to the top of the sand dune. Waiting for me at the top were the boys, my sister and a beautiful view of Lake Michigan.

These metaphors are a bit cliche, I know. But, after three weeks of tackling tough news, it was good to have a moment to think. Better yet, to process who I am and the type of person I’d like to be. Like my sister, I’ve never been much of a quitter and I do lean toward the perfectionist side. I realize tough times come and go, but sometimes can’t they just spread out like sprinkles?

In all the chaos of this month, I do feel like I’ve become lost. I’m no longer entirely sure where I’m headed or what’s going on. I have never felt so scatter and my usual sticky note reminders don’t seem to be helping. So much has happened recently, that my brain just can’t seem to catch up. I haven’t reached the top of those nasty steps yet, but I will do!

Finally, I get comments of concern or looks from loved one’s when they find out how much time I spend with my nephews. My thoughts on this subject are as followed…

Even in their worst of days, I wouldn’t trade a second I have with these boys. They push me to the limit with tears of joy and sadness, they make me laugh with their boyish potty humor, they love me unexpectedly by kindly bringing me treats, and they believe in me at times more than I believe in myself. I know that I may not always be in their presence, so that’s why I’m here now. This is what they’ll remember when they grow up. Even though I may be a tough aunt (enforcing chores — how dare I!), I hope they’ll always have the memory of me screaming down my parents’ hallway in excitement over their three clean dinner plates.

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