Imagine that you and I met for tea or coffee one day. As you walk into the coffee shop, the rich aroma that you love greets you. The line is blessedly short, the barista greets you with a friendly smile, and the sun is shining through the window. It's a good day.
Over steaming or chilly cups of our favorite drinks, we get caught up about our lives. I tell you about something I saw on a trip we took over the summer. Then I ask you, “Tell me about a favorite experience you’ve had with beauty.”
Sure, the question might catch you off guard at first, but after a minute or two, a memory comes to mind. What is it?
Now, hold that thought…
I recently posed that question to my friend Mary Jane Dowling, a mother of four and intrepid traveler. She inspires me in so many ways. Not only does Mary Jane love to travel, but she loves to take her kids along with her. This summer, she spent five weeks in Spain with them. She writes about that and other adventures on her blog, Wanderlust - Travel with Kids.
When I asked Mary Jane to tell me about a memorable experience with beauty she’d had, here is what she shared with me.
“I can vividly recall one night, very late, when my daughter was just an infant. She had yet to sleep through the night and her cries woke me once again. I trudged up the stairs, delirious from a lack of sleep and frustrated with the prospect of another up-all-night scream fest.
“I picked her up out of her crib and carried her to the overstuffed rocker in the corner of the room, prepared to soothe her for the next few hours. She nuzzled in my arms and after a brief fight, fell into a deep sleep.
“As I looked down at her, all of my earlier discontent was replaced with something entirely different. I studied the outline of her face, highlighted by the moonlight peeking through the curtains, and focused on her peaceful, rhythmic breathing.
“I was suddenly struck by the realization that she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life. I loved her so deeply, it was gut wrenching.
“After that evening, I approached our nighttime routine differently. Sitting with her in the rocking chair was just another opportunity to bask in the beauty that is my child. During the day, still moments were hard to come by, but by night, she was all mine.”
Now it’s your turn. Have you had an experience with beauty that made an impression on you? A favorite memory of something that struck you or touched you, even changed you in some way?
Maybe it was in the mountains or at the ocean or in your neighborhood. Maybe it was through music, theater, art of some kind.
Wherever it happened, I would love to hear about it and might even share it on the blog in the future. Leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And remember to check out Mary Jane's blog, Wanderlust - Travel with Kids, and share it with other moms and dads (and grandparents!) who might be interested. You can reach her at email@example.com.