Her text came in one morning over the holidays last year: “Want to go to the Mill?”
My daughter, a high schooler, was at her favorite coffee shop reading, and I was at home working. We were texting about our plans together that afternoon. So far, we’d decided to grab a bite to eat and go shopping for a new comforter for her room (50% off After Christmas Sale!).
And now she was asking if we could also go to a nearby park called the Mill where, on the banks of the big creek, you can check out the ruins of a manufacturing mill from the 1800s. There are walking trails, a covered pedestrian bridge overlooking the creek, and even a waterfall, created when the creek was dammed up to provide waterpower.
The mill is only a few miles from our house but I’d never been. I didn’t even know there was a waterfall until recently. The summer before, our daughter had spent many happy hours there hiking and hanging out with friends. My husband and I wanted to go too but hadn't yet.
As much as I love beauty and as often as I encourage you to seek it out, I have to confess that on that day I was not in the mood. It was cold outside, and sometimes being cold makes me cranky. Plus, I didn’t have on the right shoes for hiking. And besides that, I needed to stay home and work on my blog about beauty. (How’s that for ironic?)
But because she loves this place and because I wanted more time with her, I said yes. So we stopped by on our way home from the store.
Lots of people had the same idea—the parking lot was almost full. The sun was out, and the sky was clear and bright blue. I pulled on my big coat and gloves and a better attitude, and we started down the trail.
Standing on the bridge, we took in the view of the big creek flowing below us while she shared memories of fun times at the park. I felt more than a little sheepish that we’d never been before, that she brought me here instead of the other way around.
A few minutes later, as we walked along the creek, we found a group of her classmates who had set up their Enos (hammocks) in a cluster of trees next to the river. We said hello, she took some selfies with them, and we walked on.
When we came upon the waterfall, I was surprised. It was much bigger than I thought. “Wow!" I said. "This is beautiful.” She was pleased, I think, that she got to show me and that I loved it too. She knew I would.
I took several photos of her with the waterfall in the background. The wintry late-afternoon sunlight fell across her face and lit it up, along with her smile. I couldn’t help but smile back. And now, whenever I see that photo, I’ll think about the day I almost said no to beauty but was very glad I said yes instead.
What about you? Have you ever said yes to something special with a loved one and was glad you did? Or have you said no and later regretted it? Tell me in the comments.
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