There’s nothing like the annual field trip to get the old paranoia going in a parent…especially one who’s already lost a child!
And I know this is a normal reaction to grief…a relentless fear that something will happen to another loved one. And some situations propel me into a neurotic person just a teensy weensy bit MORE than others…….
Um, like a “Whale Watching Field Trip!”
Not one in a safe four walled aquarium, no, one on a boat, on an ocean, the wild ocean, with unpredictable waves and shark invested waters…
So you can guess how I felt about Dempsey going by herself. No Way, it wasn’t going to happen! This year, I didn’t have to beg to follow the bus…I was allowed! :)
However, instead of holding my breath in anticipation at something happening to Dempsey, the day managed to take my breath away. I was reminded by Mother Nature and a bunch of wise eight year olds, how to find joyfulness in the simple things in life……
Kids = enthusiasm…simple as that!
And they can teach us adults a thing or two about noticing and marveling in the miracles of our environment.
The whole experience, from the night before, as Dempsey taped ‘her list’ on our fridge had me smiling and feeling all fuzzy with love and gratefulness…..how my daughter’s enthusiasm has the ability to humble me with the simplicity of finding joy in such small moments……….
The morning of the trip Dempsey met me on the stairs in the dark, already dressed (in her layers), raring to go…
And by ten am we were on the water. Despite my anxiety, I was enjoying the blustery salty sea air that was bitterly cold. And, the thought of seeing a real live whale in its natural habitat….I was beginning to relax! :)
My paranoia faded as the anticipation and energy from the kids kicked in. Out of the dark shadows of the ocean leapt dolphins…slippery and graceful, mysterious and playful. They were breathtaking! As was the wonder and excitement oozing out of the children. Dempsey was clutching onto the boat railing, jumping up and down, and pointing…with a grin almost as wide as the ocean…..
It was difficult not to be affected by the kid’s animated euphoria. It is said, children laugh on average three hundred times a day, compared to us adults measly fifteen!
They see the world as it is, stripped bare of any stresses or pressures…and if we take our blinkers off and take a leaf out of their book, we can channel this same capacity into our everyday moments.
We all exist in the same world and should try NOT to lose the ability that children have to appreciate what we often take for granted. We just need to pay attention, like they do...to our surroundings and wittness the beauty through the eyes of a child!
And the kids weren’t disappointed either that they didn’t get to see a whale up close. We did see a tail, and some spray in the water…and that seemed enough for them…another example of them teaching me that day….to just be happy instead of constantly searching and wanting more!
And the lessons from my gorgeous eight year old didn’t end on the boat. Last night I read the report she wrote for school. Hidden in her words was another prompt to notice the gifts Mother Nature bestows on us everyday if we take the time to realize…to quote Dempsey… “I saw a cloud that looked like a sea lion popping out of the water…”
I know after experiencing grief we do become more appreciate of these special moments....
However today, I’m trying not to be disappointed that for once, we have a cloudless sky in California….I was looking forward to acting like a kid, squinting at the sun, trying to find some special image in a fluffy cloud to feed my spirit today! :)
Wishing you sunshine if your cup is blue and hoping you can find something to make you smile in the heavens above…….