Joy Comes in the Morning, Always

The sun sifts through the trees, making an accordion of color. On the tall ship, the wind stills until we are one with the water, there is no land, we are here right now and there is nowhere else to be. 

People sail for many reasons. I sail because it takes me somewhere new, somewhere poetic, somewhere quiet and beautiful and resonant all at once. Sort of like the reason I became a parent in the first place.

Every day I thank God I am a mother. Like this morning, when Shaya opened his eyes (yes, in my bed, as he is most nights) and said, “I am always going to be with you. I love you – you are the best mommy!” And I nestled into that sweet spot in his neck and he smiled with his eyes closed because that is how love feels.

Or the way Asher and Eliana can’t help but migrate back to my bedroom after I’ve tucked them in, every night. “I just forgot to tell you…” or “I just want to be with you…” or whatever it is that propels them to connect with me one last time before surrendering to sleep.

In Judaism, there is a prayer one is supposed to recite upon waking – before even climbing out of bed, before starting one’s day. It is a prayer that thanks God for returning my soul to me, for there is a belief that while one sleeps, we are soulless and when we awaken, it is as if we were given a new chance at life.

I’m sure most people don’t look at a new day that way and truth be told, I don’t always, either. But it’s a good reminder. Today is the first day, the only day, the day that matters most.

I just finished a fantastic novel by Jonathan Rosen called Joy Comes in the Morning. It is a book about making every moment sacred, about seeing the beauty in every relationship. It is, at last, a novel, a creation of words interwoven in a way that transported at least me to another place, to a journey of the soul and the imagination. That is the work of good writing.

Today, I am writing this in the treetops, behind which sun is bathing the leaves an iridescent green. It is a cool morning in northern Michigan and it seems anything is possible. The view of Torch Lake is spectacular. The silence even moreso.

At night, we count the stars. By day, I hold whatever hand is given me – my littlest boy, who grasps tightly with his soft small fingers; my daughter, who’s firm grip belies the tenderness of her skin; my eldest son, whose grasp is so intense, it is as if I let go, I will never take up his hand again.

As I walked along the trails the other day, I marveled at the moment that my child allowed her hand to be in mine. This will not always be so, but for now it is the supremest truth and I am in it, around it, living it and loving it, for that’s what a good life is: a series of remarkable moments about which you don’t have to remark at all.

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