It doesn’t take much.
TV commercials. A birds’ nest on my front porch. Pretty much every Disney movie ever made.
As a mom, my heart aches almost every single day for reasons both big and small. It’s a feeling I never knew until I became a mother. This weird, primal yanking on my heartstrings. Sometimes good. Sometimes bad. I consider it a special gift, and I treasure it. Except when it keeps me up at night.
It’s part of who I am now, and it pops up at the most unexpected times.
Like last month, on our annual family beach trip (praise be for the beach). We got to witness something so spectacular and heart-wrenching that I can’t stop thinking about it. A turtle rescue. More specifically, the excavation of a sea turtle nest that had already been vacated by hundreds of tiny little sea turtle babies.
Marc and Lily caught wind of it on an evening walk and dashed back to the house to wrangle everybody. The kids sprinted toward the crowd and we just did our best to keep up.
Monroe was especially excited.
While Sophie mostly wanted to get her hands on my camera.
Even though the nest was presumed empty, the turtle rescue people (who are fierce, by the way) thought there might be a straggler or two. And they needed to count the hatched eggs for research purposes. So they started digging.
And Lily waited patiently with her magic fairy wand in hand in case the babies needed some help finding the ocean.
Then, all of a sudden, after we’d been watching these women dig and dig and dig, this little guy popped out of one of their hands and set off for the sea. Isn’t his little trail cool?
These ladies in the green shirts helped him along the alley. It’s tough business getting through that soft sand and finding the ocean, especially right after you’ve JUST BEEN BORN.
And the volunteers back at the nest gathered and counted eggs. So neat.
Here’s our mighty little friend, finally clear of the soft sand and just about to hit the water. I couldn’t get close after this point because of the human shield of turtle rescue volunteers helping him battle the waves. How my heart longed for him, willing him to make it to wherever he would be safe.
And this is where I tell myself that my little baby turtle made it safely out to sea and found his mama, who wrapped him up in a big sea turtle hug and told him how proud she was. And he spends his days riding the East Australian Current with all of his little turtle siblings and is happy as can be.
(Speaking of babies, here’s mine pretending to be a turtle.)