Three years ago, my husband and I were incredibly lucky enough to be going on a hike in Maui when we came across a message spelled out in white rocks that wished all passersby a Happy New Year. I couldn’t contain my happiness that some kind soul had stopped and thought to take the time to do that. Even in a place as beautiful as Hawaii, they somehow left it better than they found it. That is a philosophy I can totally get behind.
This morning we went to the beach super early. There was dense fog that had yet to lift and hardly anyone there aside from the shore fishermen, the beach power walkers and our little family (including the dog). The kids had a blast hurling themselves into the small waves, laughing as they crashed on top of their little bodies. It was a Florida style white Christmas scene as they emerged each time from the wave’s white foam.
I started to write out (in seashells) a New Year’s Day message and was stopped by a beach walker who thanked me for my art. Normally, I would refuse the compliment which is awful and very true, stating that it wasn’t REALLY art or something like that. But today I took it on, because I remembered what it felt like to happen upon such a message when I already loved life and was full of gratitude.
As we talked, a wave came and took away the word “Happy”. But I was undeterred. I moved up the beach and continued on my mission. This time, my husband rallied around me, bringing me shells, enlisting the kids to do the same and giving me pointers on how it would stand out better (double up the rows…). The walker came back with shells for me to use and waited patiently until I finished the last letter of the message. She then took a picture to send to her family in Nebraska, a place that could not replicate the message she had stumbled across that morning.
We left a few hours later and went home to make lunch. Afterwards I had that never ending list in my head of all the things that needed to be done – wash the dog, do the laundry (all those beach towels!) etc. But my husband proposed naps all around. I took him up on it and little did I know how badly I needed that. I slept like a brick for four hours. In the end, he washed the dog with the kids and I did end up washing all those towels, but I did it without complaint and a joyful heart. It was the perfect way to wrap up a year that taught me so much.
Right now, I am peacefully writing this while Big Sister is massaging my shoulders – I could not have asked Santa for a more perfect gift than today. I know the holiday season can be brutal and full of tension and I guess that it is up to each of us to find the good in small moments and hang on tight to it. There were plenty of flaws in today but I am choosing to only focus on the best parts and the kindness that unfolded around me. I am wishing you the same.