I have a funny habit. While on vacation or just a pretty day at the beach I have collected shells for years. When our lives changed and Daisy got sick those days were few and far between, becoming a sprinkling of beauty in a life that had become one filled with hospitals, pain, fear. I decided to put those tiny tokens of natural beauty in places that would both give me pleasure to look at them and remind me the future won’t always be flavored bitterly. I leave them in purses, pockets, drawers, my car; always waiting for me to discover them, waiting to whisper of beauty to come.
A couple of days ago I came across one of my secret treasure chests in a bag containing chapstick and sunscreen. I had spent a sunny day with great friends, hiking, swimming, holding a precious newborn. With my handful of shells such a display of simple pleasure, I was so thankful to have spent an entire day full of simple pleasure. Life is so different now,the days flavored with a different type of bitter, yet peppered with a different type of beauty. The beauty of anticipation.
My daughter lives, not here with me but in a different country. One containing loveliness unimaginable. Like my shells whisper of sweet days spent in the sun, my home whispers of sweet days spent with my sunshine. Her drawings are everywhere, hilarious ones all over her schoolwork, adding mustaches and buzzing flies to the characters teaching her phonics. Some have anchor tattoos, others clever sayings in bubbles extended from their little cartoon heads. Her secret placement of plastic mice in nooks, waiting to frighten someone. Her tiny leopard print leggings folded on the dryer, her toothbrush in the cup. Her artful arrangement of painted pinecones, the barn she made out of a cardboard box with happy ponies sticking fuzzy heads through the window, and her Teddy bear tucked safely into my bed. I leave these tokens of sweet times to remind me it won’t always be this way. I won’t always be without her, and my days won’t always be shrouded with a sense of sorrow and longing. There is more joy and laughter with her to come. So I continue to keep tangible reminders, little sneak peeks into our glorious future and reunion. They remind me of truth, and encourage me to live and love.