Hope that these are not growing tiresome. These are at least as much for me to remember to be thankful, as they are for other people. Probably more for me to be appreciative, because taking the time and being thankful and truly expressing gratitude for the blessings of life serves as a reminder not to take anything for granted or to fall into the trap of feeling entitled to things, but of trying to take a higher road and being truly thankful for what I have.
As Sheryl Crow sings, "It's not getting what you want, it's wanting what you've got."
And so, I write about another moment in which I can give thanks.
Over this past weekend, I made good on a promise to my son to take him to the beach at least one more time. I had worked the night before (just as a reminder, I work the overnights), and despite feeling fatigued, nonetheless managed to muster enough energy to take him to the beach.
Not surprisingly, perhaps, we went to Sandy Hook, which is surely the Jersey beach that I have frequented the most, from my first visit there during a high school field trip, to the second one the very next year as a school trip for college, to several subsequent visits since. Part of the reason is, of course, the closer proximity to where we live, since Sandy Hook is, for the most part, the first real stop as you head south towards the Jersey Shore.
In any case, we had a lot of fun, although the waves were wild and strong - stronger than I remember seeing them before. Perhaps the passing storm last week was still having an effect.
The water was still ideal, in terms of not being cold, and we stayed in for over an hour. We both went in a little bit later, but we spent some time on the actual beach, as well. My son found a pole, and wanted to bury it enough to make it stand, and he requested my help, for which I was happy to oblige. He asked if I thought it would still be standing next year when we came back, and I said no, seeing no reason to lie to him. Chances were strong that it would be removed, one way or the other, within the next couple of days.
Anyway, he played around, and I read, trying to take advantage of the leisurely pace of the day. It is always so pleasant to read, and the look up every now and then, and take in the wonderful view of the ocean, which almost always adds perspective to the observer's mind. There is something about large bodies of water that makes us more reflective, no?
I thought about that moment, and how blessed my son and I both were. We had just completed a successful trip out west, and seen and experienced some amazing things. Now, here we were, on what felt like the de facto last day of summer, as it was hot and humid, but a cooling down was expected the very next day.
So, we got to enjoy a day at the beach together, and despite lingering doubts about just how good a parent and father I am (there have been a ton of mistakes and shortcomings, admittedly), there have nevertheless been some significant successes as well. That much seemed apparent with the view of his smile and the sound of his laughter, for which I felt, and still very much feel, quite blessed.