Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!
Warning: There are a lot of pictures today… I took about 700 last week and it was hard to decide which ones made the cut. So I am apologizing upfront!
Remember how much fun I was having in my last blog? Meeting my son and my future daughter-in-law to look at wedding and rehearsal dinner venues? Well, that fun continued throughout this past week for me. Life’s a beach! After leaving Kiawah, I spent a couple of quiet days at the beach hanging out with my sisters and brother-in-law, reading and sleeping on the beach, then 2 of my kids arrived, followed by my nephew and his sweet family, and finally the arrival of my other kids. Then there was NO quiet – only laughter, constant conversation, baby giggles, toddler questions (endlessly!), and squeals of joy. Family time. And I loved every second of it! We were all together to celebrate sweet Jack’s 3rd birthday, and my son and his fiancée’s engagement.
Next to being on the beach together, my favorite time is being around the dinner table, talking, sharing, laughing. After cooking locally caught trigger fish and shrimp for our family dinner at my house Friday night, our crew headed to our favorite restaurant, Franks, for dinner Saturday night. Luckily we made a reservation a couple of weeks ago! This is our second year celebrating Jack’s birthday at Franks. Food was fabulous, family time even more so. Party of 12 and party it was! Even though Jack had a big candle on his cake at Franks, we also had a birthday cake and ice cream back at my house. AND we toasted my son and future daughter-in-law’s engagement, since we were all together for the first time since they got engaged. Such a joyous night! (and weekend!)
“May your home know joy, each room hold laughter, and every window always be open to possibilities.” Ethan W. Post
There’s nothing like being surrounded by all the people you love most in the world (we missed our sweet momma). Nothing y’all. Such a joyful and comforting feeling. And top that with an adorable 3 year-old celebrating his birthday (4 days in a row!) and a sweet 5-month old giggling and cooing, and I found myself in heaven. Not to mention we were already in beach heaven!
I discovered such joy in simple things last week. Like the sweet smell of baby Izzie’s head. Ahhh… nothing like the smell of a baby’s head. And the sweet things that come out of the mouth of a 3-year-old: “Les, I wanna hold you” which translates to “I want you to hold me.” “Les, I wanna make moothies” which translates to “I want to make smoothies with you.” Jack and I made “moothies” each morning for everyone. He guzzled them down (me too!). “Les, I love you.” “Oh sweet boy I love you too!” Nothing like the arms of a child around your neck. We had constant entertainment with Jack and Izzie. Lord what did we do before these precious children became part of our family? Their actions and comments were priceless. Out of the mouths of babes. Just having my whole family together – the people I love most in my life, gave me the most joy.
“People seldom understand the secrets of happiness but I think what breeds happiness is an overdose of love from the people you call family.”
Seeing the world through the eyes of a 3-year-old makes you appreciate the small things every day. Their wonderment of nature, and the world in general, makes you realize how much we take for granted every day. Their inquisitiveness (endless questions) make you think as you search for answers. The weather was a bit cloudy Friday afternoon, so we took sweet Jack for a ride on the golf cart to see the turtles in the lake, (“How did those turtles get in the lake? Why does that turtle have squares on his back and the other has circles? What are they eating in there?”), the library, the dog park (“Why are those dogs in the fence? What are their names?”), the baseball park (“Who are those people out there?”), and the pier (“Why is the pier cut off? What kind of fish are those? What are those birds doing?”). He was enthralled with everything. Every little thing. Plus he had 1000 questions about every little thing. Which is why he is so smart! (That and the fact he is in our family!) But I truly love the pure joy Jack found in the ocean, sand, and seashells (treasures)… Just like Aunt Les. My buddy. To top the weekend off, we celebrated his birthday Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. We do like to extend birthdays in our family.
“Kids take such joy in the littlest things. We should too.”
Speaking of joy, yesterday I was allowed to run solidly for 30 minutes. No walking. I had passed the program of 30 minutes of walking 4/running 2 minutes, walking 3/running 3 minutes, walking 2/running 4 minutes and graduated to running 30 minutes straight. Honestly, I did not think I could make it, but I did. Joyfully! A friend drove by and said he had never seen such a happy runner. It has been a LONG time coming y’all! My life is returning to normal.
Is it hard for you to find pure joy in your life? I bet not, if you stop, think, look around, and realize what all you have in your life to be thankful for. Yes we all face challenges, obstacles, and low points in our lives, but that makes us appreciate the joy from the good times even more. After all, if we never experienced sadness, loss, or pain, we would not know joy.
“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” Marianne Williamson
One thing (among many others!) I have learned over the last 3 SOLO years, is that there is always, always, always something to be thankful for, and joy to be found in so many things I once took for granted. Please don’t wait for the “low” time to hit you to appreciate what you have in your life. Look around you, at your life, your family, your friends, your opportunities, your blessings, and truly see what there is to be thankful for. Find that joy! And find it again every day because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.
“Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea, Joy to you and me…” Three Dog Night
PS There are only 125 days until Christmas y’all!