We spent Thanksgiving in Michigan visiting family. I am thankful that my husband and I are from the same state, because that means that every time we travel to Michigan we are able to see both sides of our family. I am also thankful that my three sisters and I are able to coordinate our schedules so that we can all spend time together twice a year. We have eleven kids among the four of us (with two more on the way!), and the kids range in age from twenty months to seventeen years. It is amazing watching them all having fun together, and I am always so happy to see that they are able to pick up with each other right where they left off six months before.
I love my family more than anything and cherish the time we spend together. And it has always been hard to say goodbye.
Despite the incredible love I have for every member of my extended family, though, I always look forward to returning to the ocean and mountains I now call home. After days spent indoors looking out at cold, grey skies, I long for fresh air, sunshine and the beauty of the California coastline. But as I walked out my Mom’s door on our last day to return to California, I paused. The view seemed different than it had from the window just minutes before. I was overcome with the stillness and beauty of the morning. The view from my Mom’s backyard, which I have looked at so many times before, was so much more than grey.
I saw the sun trying to poke through the clouds for the first time in days. I saw the frost glistening on the barren tree branches. I saw the beautiful garden she created in remembrance of my father. I saw the contrast between dark and light and the muted shades of grey in between.
It was spectacular.
The peace I felt in that moment was a powerful reminder of just how many forms beauty can take. And a reminder of how very important it is to slow down and truly appreciate that which surrounds us.
It was a reminder of how grateful I am for the warm and nurturing home my parents created for my sisters and me. And a reminder that, despite the fact that my new home is thousands of miles away, a part of me will always be at home here too.
That moment was a reminder of how grateful I am for my family and how much I cherish the memories that are created each time we get together. My family means more than anything to me and I want to create that same sense of home and family for our boys.
Finally, it was a reminder that, had I not paused to take in that moment, I would have missed it all.
What are you grateful for? Are you enjoying every moment? Or do you sometimes find yourself, like me, rushing full-speed through life and in need of a reminder to slow down and fully appreciate the beauty that surrounds you?