My daughter and I got up this morning and drove to the beach to watch the sunrise. It was magical…on a variety of levels.
First of all, it was her idea. And she wanted to do it with me. She is almost fifteen, and while I am not hated in her life, I am not her first choice…which is as it should be…not complaining. But I can’t tell you how happy I was that she wanted to do this with me.
So we got up early, well, really I get up early every day, but my sleep-until-the-last-possible-moment daughter, got herself up at 4:30 am and got herself and her dog ready to take on the day.
Off we went, music blaring, dog excited, me content and her quietly brooding in her new way.
Twenty minutes later, we arrived to a darkened beach with only moonlight to guide us to the water’s edge. We released the dog and off she went to ensure that no invading birds were to be found on “her” beach. We stumbled our way across the freezing sand, and down to the point to wait for day break.
There was no one there. No surfers. No beach walkers. No dogs. No one. Just the three of us who were there to take in the marvelous stand off between the night time sky and the breaking dawn. We sat juxtaposed between both — the moon high in the Western sky and the sun’s almost timid entrance to the day. It was glorious.
We sat and watched the moon recede and give way to the sun’s dominion over day. The two deities giving each other a subtle nod signaling one’s turn over of responsibility and careful watch. It was now sun’s turn as the moon allowed grace and space.
It wasn’t the most spectacular sunrise I have ever seen. Surely there are likely much better photos on Facebook and Instagram. But not for me. Not this day. This day’s sunrise was the most beautiful I have ever seen because I sat cuddled next to one of the most important humans in my life: my daughter.
And because of our relationship, I have gotten to watch my daughter rise, rise from infant to toddler, to little kid, to grade schooler, to tween, to teen. Always commanding in her grace and presence. Watching her grow up, having a ring side seat to her assent into her life has been the greatest and most humbling experience I have ever known.
But there we sat, two who were once one. Two butts seated on a cold, wet rock, waiting to witness the debut of today’s new sun. It did not disappoint. And as the sun’s rays lit up the sand, we watched the dog chase the pelicans and gulls with her usual fervor. We laughed, we sat silently, we were there together as the sun ushered in this new and wondrous day.
And while I said nothing, afraid to spoil a moment with too much parenting, I silently allowed my heart to fill and overflow with love for this child of mine. To marvel at her beauty, her grace, her self possession, her knowledge and humor. I am not sure how I got to be so lucky to be her mom but I did and I am so incredibly grateful. She is a much better version of me, if I can be so arrogant to claim relation.
My day began seated next to this amazing person who calls me mom, and still occasionally “Mommy”…although she would deny it if she heard me say that. It is usually with a sense of irony that “Mommy” is said, so I don’t think she would mine too much so long as I own that “Mommy” has given way permanently to “Mom”. And I will take it. I would take any name she would call me honestly, even if it weren’t all that nice. Because she is one of the best people I know, love and she just so happens to be my daughter.
I have seen a lot of sunrises in my day. But today was my first daughter rise and I will admit, I am hooked. So Friday mornings shall be our pilgrimage to the ocean to watch the daughter rise…which shall always be accompanied by the sun. Bathing us each in the light of a new day that we are blessed to have and challenged to own. I am not sure how I got this lucky, but today, I am sure with all that I am, that I am blessed beyond measure…again.