Every Monday, I start my week by highlighting what made me happy from the previous week, because I believe we multiply what we focus on, and that gratitude is the first step in learning how to be happier.
This post is supposed to be about happiness, about the things from last week for which I am grateful. But it’s hard to recount how happy we were and not also feel sad.
We spent last week back in Florida. Devin had to take standardized tests for school and we had to pick up the few items we hadn’t sold before hitting the road last summer. Jared and I were thrilled to get back to the sunshine and to see our friends. We were surprised to finally feel the sense of home we’d been yearning for the last few months on the road.
I didn’t want to leave.
I am tired of goodbyes.
I am not quite sure I have the strength to go out and create yet another home in yet another place.
When I think of how happy I was last week, I think of how awful it is not to be there right now, to maybe not be moving back there. I think about how comfortable and easy that happiness was.
We spent the week staying with Courtney and Memo and their two kids, two kids I’ve watched grow up for the last five years. The youngest is three, at that magical age when he speaks way more clearly than he looks like he should. It was so much fun getting to know him more and trying to coerce him into talking to me (which I totally succeed at. And then shouted and pointed and said “Ha! You talked to me! Ha ha HA, kid!” Because I’m totally mature and someone you want around your children.)
Talking to Courtney at night when she came home from work was so wonderful. She has always been an amazing woman, the kind of woman everyone instantly loves because she is kind and generous, but I have learned so much more about her in the five years since we met. She is stronger than you would suspect, and every time I’m reminded of that I am inspired to be more than I appear.
And man, did we laugh. The four of us would sit up at night and laugh over the stupidest things, teasing each other the way you can only do with people you know without a doubt love you.
While we were there, we also got to see some of our other friends, the kind of friends who you make an effort to keep in touch with while you were traveling for 10 months, friends who reached out to us, too, and still have spaces saved for us in their hearts.
I spent two hours one morning walking around with my friend Samantha while she pushed her new daughter in a stroller, the daughter she had while I was away. I met Samantha as a co-worker, left her as a newly pregnant friend, and saw her this week as a mother. We talked about writing and faith and life, the way we always do when we get time together. We would have walked and talked all day, I think, if that beautiful little baby hadn’t decided she had finally had enough time in a stroller.
I don’t want to imagine never getting to walk and talk with Sam.
Our friend Istvan took us to the beach. He is Jared’s friend, a former co-worker, but I adore him. He makes me laugh so hard and he shows us the tenderness and generosity that lies beneath his jovial attitude. He is good people and I am so, so lucky to have met him.
And oh, the beach.
The sun was not shining and the water was too cold, but the sand was just right for curling between my toes. The waves were as constant and reassuring as ever, except that I walked away uncertain of how I could live without them nearby.
I struggled with gratitude this week. Everything I loved seemed to come with a deadline and I could not seem to just appreciate the moment for what it was. I’m still counting my blessings, but I have to admit it is bittersweet.
What were the highlights of your week?