*We sit in the sand, Katie and I, and talk about life - the struggles, the triumphs, the fears and the dreams. The breeze blows by and it closes my eyes; I smell the salt, I hear the wind, I feel the breeze when it kisses my cheeks and plays in my hair. We sit in the sand and I dig my fingers in and swirl them around, making shapes, making patterns, making textures, all the while not thinking about the sand, but of life, as one like me does when they sit in the sand.
We watch the waves, Katie and I, and talk about life. Walls of water crash into each other, one from the left and one from the right, then another from the left and another from the right, creating frothy water and dancing spray and tunnels of water as they overlap. We watch the waves and point at the waves, all the while not really thinking about the waves, but of life, as one like me does when they watch the waves.
We watch the surfers, Katie and I, and talk about life. We laugh when they fall and cheer when they stand, and I think to myself wouldn't it be nice if I could laugh when I fall and cheer when I stand? Because that, simplistically, is life.
*I love Miles's hair - always. Even right now, when it looks frizzy and unruly. It just bounced with him down the stairs and he absentmindedly pushed it away from his eyes with the back of his hand. He smiled at me when he caught me staring at him, unaware that I was wondering about the future of that hair... hoping that he will love it through his life as I do.
*Green, rolling hills jutted out and away from the freeway like a song, and I wanted to sing it. The van was moving too fast to roll the windows down, but if the law would have permitted me to slow down on that road and savor my way across the fields of California, I would have, with a lowered window to let in the fresh breeze that carried the scent of green life. But even without the lowered window, the moment captured me.
*Brian smiled at me from across the dinner table. His elbows were propped up on the dark wood, and his face rested asymmetrically on his hands. Something about his upturned sleeves pulled at me and made me smile back. Relaxed? Handsome? Friendly? He is all of those things... the upturned sleeves reminded me so.
*I didn't wash these sheets, but they are clean. I didn't fluff these pillows, but they are plump. I didn't buy this comforter, but it is soft and warm. I am sinking into the softness and drifting into sleep with my husband next to me and my children snuggled together in the bed two feet to my right. Sometimes hotel nights can be beautiful.
*The world looks warm and soft now. I smile as I pull the price tag off my new sunglasses. It was a necessary purchase as my old ones were so scratched up that I'm afraid it was a hazard to drive in them. But I like new sunglasses... I always buy them with the brown tinted lenses, so for a little while, before they get scratched up from my misuse again, the world looks crisp and clean, warm and inviting, and soft through the lenses.
*I'm feeling cold while we wait outside for our dinner table to be ready. I wrap my sweater tighter around my shoulders and step backwards into my husbands arms. But it's the moment just before we touch that grabs me. I feel his warmth in that brief moment, and in that moment, I feel no cold. He is living, and warm. I sink into him and he wraps his arms around me. And I know I am blessed.
*I know that mom and child sitting on the library floor across the room from the small patch of carpet that holds Timothy and me. Not well, because six months is not enough time to know someone well when you see them only on occasion. But I do know them. I know them well enough to know that I want to know them better, after all. They are bouncing and clapping to the silly song playing from the CD player to my left. Timothy and I are, too. But for just this moment, I'm not thinking about Timothy - though he competes fiercely with his own adorable bouncing and clapping - because I'm watching that mom and her child. She throws her head back and laughs with her son, and then sweeps him up close to her face for a powerful hug. He squeals with laughter... and so does she. And I thought, there is a mom who loves being with her children. Her example painted the whole rest of my day and made me treasure all the moments.
*Homemade music fills the room. That boy, there, holds a beautiful, blue guitar and strums the song that you hear. Some people might look at the scene and say that the music is coming from the beautiful guitar. But they would be wrong. The music is coming from the boy.
'Carson,' the mother says, 'that sounds really beautiful.' The boy, never breaking his rhythm, looks up to receive the compliment but as quickly as his eyes meet his mother's, his head drops to hide the smile that breaks on his lips.
He thinks he's done it... hidden his smile. But the mother knows. She sees it in the way his head bobs a little more sprightly, she hears it in his slightly faster tempo, but most of all, being his mother, she feels it in the invisible bonds that connect her to her son.
*Soft and shiny, her hair brushed against her cheeks when she smiled. My McKenzie.
*I wave as they approach the car. McKenzie sees me and breaks into a full-faced smile and a run. I open the sliding door with the button on my left and roll down the passenger-side window at the same time. I have a feeling she has something to tell me. "I got a solo, Mom!" she blurts out before the window is halfway down. I see excitement tears dancing in her eyes and my heart swells for her. She has landed the role of Scarecrow in the elementary production of The Wizard of Oz and will sing If I Only Had a Brain. I squeal appropriately and clap my hands together for her. I feel warm and happy and full and I notice that her success feels even better to me than my own ever did.
*Popcorn Trees. They live at the library. In February. I take note for future years and I am happy.
*My fingertips touch the wall and I begin to curl my legs underneath me. I feel the current I've created in the water pushing me forward, ever so gently, and it urges me to hurry. In one moment, I tuck and turn and place my feet, legs cocked, against the wall where my fingertips had been. I still feel the current, and now I can see it, too... tiny air bubbles racing through the water towards my goggled eyes. Extending my legs in a powerful kick, I soar through the current and feel its added resistance. This is my favorite part. The water feels thick for no more than a second, but I look forward to that second and know that it will come again, if I hurry, when my fingertips touch the next wall.