I've been thinking about a day we had last July, a year ago this very week in fact and a life lesson I learned that day that has forever changed how I appreciate my life. Our custody situation has been very stressful due to dealing with some pretty serious factors with the coparent and a court system that refused to stand up for our little one. Her Dad and I have aged considerably in every way over the past few years due to the massive stress that we have been dealing with and the stresses that our custody ordeal has put on ever other facet of our lives, especially financial.
Last July was a particularly stressful period and we were having to do a great deal of preparation for court. Daddy was working 15 hour overnight shifts, with only a few hours to sleep and eat before he had to return to work - 7 days a week for three weeks. He was able to get one day off of work so that we could focus our efforts on the court case. We decided that we would make a quick family trip to the beach to get some fresh air and try to decompress a little. We gave ourselves a two hour deadline and then it was back to work. We had an amazing time and it was the most fun time we'd had in a long time. It felt so good to walk up and down the beach, to play in the sand and it was such a joy to see our little one enjoying herself so much with us.
When that two hours were up, we both felt impressed that it was in our family's best interests to stay and make a day of it - despite that fact that it seems to be a disastrous decision for the court case preparations. But we went with our instincts and stay and truly unwound and felt such a wave of peace come over us. Despite being in one of the worst periods of our lives, we were experiencing joy, calm, peace, AND happiness!
I learned that day that our greatest joys and happiness can any day and every day, even when it seems the world is crashing down around us. I learned that there are moments to love and cherish - to have astounded gratitude for - every day. Now I look for those moments in the every day and I treasure them and thank God for them. These moments are the great gifts of my life - my joy, my treasures more valuable than any other gift. Even in the worst of days, we can experience joy and see blessings come to us.
In the end we were able to be prepared for court and we came to realize that our preparations were not necessary for that day. This is also a reminder to me to follow my instincts and try to reduce pressure we put on ourselves unnecessarily. Great lessons all around and great memories from that day at the beach.