“The soul is healed by being with children.” — Fyodor Dostoyevsky
This post is a love letter to my daughters Taylor and Caitlyn…
I have spent the last six days surrounded in almost every moment of the day and night by them both. From the blurring moments of waking and getting out the door a week ago at 5:45 AM for an early flight, buckling them both securely into their plane seats to this very moment, an angelic three year old breathing rhythmically beside me exhaustion finally forcing her to into a deep and seemingly dreamless sleep. She is silent… an unusual state…her small chubby right hand clinging to the folds of my t-shirt, Oreo crumbs on her lips and cheeks her blonde hair wild around her face, some ruddiness on her cheeks earned beneath the intense Floridian sun these past several days. She is peaceful and she is happy even in the depth of her slumber. A smirk escapes my lips. Her older sister, watching TV casually leans over and kisses my cheek and mumbles, “I love you mom… g’night.” slipping almost immediately into her own deep sleep. I am surrounded by more wealth in this moment than any other in my lifetime. The weight of that is not lost on me.
The physicality of that closeness to my girls has been like medicine injected directly into my soul. I started this week reading Sartre, wallowing in the heaviness that I have experienced over the last year or so and feeling ultimately quite sorry for myself in the process. I was certain, just certain that if I became reflective and lost in the depths of reading and listening and observing I would find something. But there was no need for searching in the first place. Irony, as it appears, has a way of completely effing with me.
“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” — Albert Camus
This week I tired of intellectualizing my life away… I can say now how wrong that was. There is a time for everything… this week needed to be about feeling. I needed to live in the most primal sense of the word. Healing came in the form of all things physical… laughing – belly laughs so hearty and complete my side nearly split and my cheeks were sore and ached to the touch. Eating – hearty meals of fresh healthy foods piles of fish and fruit and vegetables so many colors and flavors my senses barely had time to recallibrate. Drinking – wine, yes, wine. Every night in fact, just enough to savor and appreciate in the glow of a sunset white, crystal sand grains nestled between my toes and then surrendering to the bubbles of the hot tub rising around and beneath me. I spent many moments closing my eyes and just letting my senses drive… The cool breezes off the water on my red, stinging skin and the warm sun and water on my face and body drying in a lounge chair without a towel watching the water droplets dry up in the heat of the day the hot sun overhead doing all the heavy lifting. Running the beach, yes running… smelling salt, watching dolphins play in the surf and feeling so small and so strong in the same moment I could hardly breathe when I let it all hit me.
Physically rising up into the sky on a parasailing adventure with my daughter I won’t ever forget and not for the moments in the air, but everything around it, her apprehension and fear, wordlessly slipping her hand into mine on the boat, meeting my eyes with trepidation as we were clipped in, and taking a deep breath as our toes lifted off the boat deck. Ultimately trust won out – trust in me, in my strength and in my capability and then the release of her fear into pure joy in the flight our feet dangling above the sea and sand. My heart nearly burst in my chest watching her accept and then welcome it all…
“Beauty will save the world” — Fyodor Dostoyevsky
I can’t remember a time when so many contented, happy sighs escaped my lips and the burden of the real world felt like a muffled, distant cry that I could easily ignore. My children, my beautiful children laughing, playing, and calling to me from the beach, the pool, the sidewalk, making me feel their love in every smile, bubbling laugh, in every footstep, and in every moment. It was like being immersed constantly in blessings and a barrage of sensory proportions I haven’t experienced to this magnitude. I was thankful for the reminder.
”Happiness is to be found along the way, not at the end of the road, for then the journey is over and it is too late. Today, this hour, this minute is the day, the hour, the minute for each of us to sense the fact that life is good, with all of its trials and troubles, and perhaps more interesting because of them.” – Robert R. Updegraf
How often do we just live, do we just feel, do we just let life happen to us without trying to figure out what it all means? Maybe that’s the trick… finding the balance between what is and what we envision…. realizing that maybe what we hope and plan for is a shadow of what’s real? Relinquishing control, letting what we want and whatis become one and the same… because what we are given is often more than we need and far more than we deserve. I was reminded this week that what I have is so much, more than I could even process moment to moment. These two beautiful girls are my compass, my physical connection to so much more beyond myself and I needed to be reminded of what that feels like. Because feeling is real, feeling hurts and scars and beautifies and reminds… feeling is living.
So, to my beautiful, fragile, and graceful daughters – thank you for the reminder that life is something I have to embrace, enjoy, and experience without a filter… I am nothing without you…