Thursday, November 13, 2014

Sunrise at the Beach

It was the last day of the 16th birthday bash for my daughter and her two friends. This was the second year of their tradition to go away together to celebrate. Last year, they went to a cabin house in the woods, but this year’s setting was the Jersey shore. A perfect ending to a perfect weekend would be to see the sun rise on the beach.

The girls plotted their morning wake-up plan using their cellphones as alarms. My own body clock turned out to be more effective. I woke up at 6 and after throwing on my sweats and an extra sweatshirt on top of my pajamas, I walked into the girls’ bedroom where their three bodies morphed as if they suddenly fell asleep playing Twister. I shook them awake, offering them the option to stay asleep. Not happening. They got up, brushed their teeth, found their sweats, hats, scarves and gloves while shuffling to the living room for their shoes. Within minutes, they were ready. It was only two blocks away, but we loaded up in the car and drove to the beach entrance, saving as much time as possible so we could beat the sun’s appearance over the horizon. The girls bounced out of the car and hurried up the wooden ramp to the beach entrance.

At the end of the ramp, we stood silently, just staring. The ocean danced ferociously under the expanse of a glorious sky painted with bold varieties of oranges, pinks, blues and greens. Breathtaking. The wind threatened to take our hats and scarves but we held on tighter and after a few minutes decided to forge ahead to the water’s edge. I snapped photo after photo hoping to capture the sunrise at the precise postcard-perfect moment when it peeked through. I found myself thinking about life and friendship and God and love while watching the trio of young ladies move ahead. Within moments, the colorful sky brightened, as if a God-sized light switch was flipped and suddenly we saw it. The sun blazed its appearance at the edge of the horizon.

The girls wrapped their arms together and, together, received.

I began a silent prayer:

God, you’re showing off for these girls, aren’t you? Thank you, God. Thank you, too, for the chance to spend time with them this weekend. This sunrise is the perfect show of what you have for them. Bless them, God. Be with them always. And thank you for loving them.

Then I cried.

God was showing off for me, too.