Day 8: A day you were most satisfied with your life
Life is filled with satisfying moments of varying degrees. Some days feel spectacular because special things happen: engagements, weddings, promotions. Some days feel amazing, simply because they were simple, and lacked any form of unhappiness or strife. My favorite kind of “happy” is the latter. We all expect to enjoy our big milestones, it’s the “regular life” days that have brought me the most joy. I couldn’t pick just one, so I chose to share my top three.
When I was little, we went out to Long Island to visit my father’s extended family. I didn’t know them very well, my parents had intermittent relationships with their siblings and cousins for various reasons throughout my childhood. On this day, though, it was like we’d all known one another our whole lives. The kids swam all day, with a few “breaks” to sneak into my older cousin’s bedroom to peak around. There were crab legs and BBQ, and in my memory, it was one of the happiest, most harmonious days of my childhood. We didn’t have a lot of close ties at the time, and on this day, we felt so “normal”, so connected. I had a cousin who was a similar age, and we looked strikingly similar (to where her grandparents couldn’t tell the difference from a distance). We giggled, and danced, and galavanted around like we were long lost sisters. It was an incredible feeling, albeit fleeting, but I’ll never forget that family scene in my past.
In the summer of 2012, literally about thirty six hours before Ben was born, was one of the most perfect days of my life. There was nothing remarkable about it, aside from that it was one of the most beautiful beach days of my life (and I’ve had many).I was nine months pregnant, Cami was the sweetest toddler, who spent her day happily digging in the sand with Kenny, him coming to join me under the umbrella to place his hand on my giant belly every so often. We soaked in the sun and salty air from sun up, until late in the day. It was one of those stretched out, Sunday beach days where people decide they’ll just stay at the beach late, and deal with the repercussions on Monday. I remember feeling so happily pregnant. Ben was a beach ball rested right on my belly, I had great energy, I felt like I was glowing. We strolled the beach up and down, and collected shells. It was the last “perfect” day of my life. The naive kind where you’re totally oblivious that your life is about to change. Ben was born late Monday night/Tuesday morning, after a quick 2.5 hour labor (must have been all the beach walking!), and nine days later, we found out Kenny was sick. There was a long time that the memory of that day made me bitter. I’d beat myself up for being so stupidly happy. But now it brings me so much joy to think about, and I’d enjoy being so stupidly happy all over again if I had the chance.
This last one may not qualify…but it sticks out in my mind. A little more than two months after Kenny died, we spent a week in our favorite shore town. I rented a bungalow right on the beach. Frankly, I wasn’t sure it was the right call, at first. This town was our town, our favorite place, and I was still feeling raw; but it was my birthday week, and if I couldn’t be in my own bed, I wanted to wake up on my first birthday without him somewhere that reminded me of him. I can’t tell you a whole ton about that week; it was a blur of beach jogs, sand digs, and fourth of July fireworks lining the shore after dark. Your mind isn’t clear when you’re in shock, like that. But I remember, one delicious summer evening, watching my kids play in the sand playground, giggling, running, mingling. As I soaked it all in, a realization hit me: we were going to be okay. Maybe not that day, or the next, or the next; but eventually, we’d be okay. I can’t say that it was a day I felt most satisfied with my life, but it was a really important day of my life, where I knew it was all still worth it. The pain, the grief, the lack of control over it all…still worth it. If thats not satisfying, I don’t know what is.