When I look back at photos from our trips to the coast, whether it's at the lake in the summer here in Wisconsin or the beach in Florida in the winter, the photos are full of hours under the umbrella nursing, yanking someone's hand away from eating the sand, and both children and myself covered in sand from building sand castles. A stranger passes us by and stops to admire our play. They offer to take a photo for me. I say yes and grab my phone attempting to dust the sand off my hands and hand it to her. HER. There she is.
(Read: me in 25 years, once my babies have grown and left the house. I'm smiling at that young overtired mother, who can sometimes not recognize the good in the moment because she's shouting at her oldest to "not go any deeper" while she snatches her sand-eating baby to dash to her 2 yo toddler. I see it and it floods back those memories of my own that I miss. Those moments.... I offer to take her photo and her eyes meet mine and she sees me. Her tired eyes meet mine and we both smile each knowing we are part of a family of mothers on this earth.)
She snaps the photo and walks away. That's it. Doesn't want to interrupt my chaos because to her it doesn't look chaotic. It looks exactly how it should. And its something she wishes she could relive every day.
*Photos from that said day on Lake Michigan.