Describe one of your favorite moments.

As a young child, I lived with my father in Virginia. If you knew anything about my dad, you would know that he was essentially excellent at nearly everything he ever tried to do. He could paint, train and ride horses, rebuild antique cars, and so much more. He left unfillable shoes in his wake because of his stature and seemingly endless skill.

He eventually set his sights on rebuilding a submerged boat. More like a yacht, really. I remember being there the day they pulled it from the water—this rotten lump of lifeless wood. I couldn’t imagine it ever actually sailing on the ocean, let alone withstanding the weight of any person, even one as small as I was.

At some point, he moved it from one docking location to another. I remember going down on the weekends and spending the entire time with him as he would work sanding, refinishing, and sweating to make this moldy forgotten houseboat into something that could withstand life and water again.

The drives down were long, and I almost always fell asleep. He would talk to me while I slept or play music. Being with him felt safe.

The dockyard wasn’t the usual playground for a child my age. Yet, somehow I could occupy myself for hours, galavanting up and down the beach, finding forgotten islands, and determining everything was mine to conquer. All while my father toiled away on another project, turning something someone deemed trash into unimaginable treasure.

The hours of napping in a truck, roaming down the beach, and even stumbling upon rotten fish that reeked of death are the childhood memories I often think of and find peace in. While each alone is a memory that brings me both sorrow and fulfillment, it was sitting on the deck of that boat or the nearby dock and watching the sun dip into the ocean that fills me with the most contentment.

Most of the time, we didn’t say a word. We sat silently and watched the sky seep into itself, revealing its true colors. Showing us that beyond the sky blue was an ocean of hues simply waiting for their chance to be revealed. In those few fading minutes, this sense of absolute serenity surrounded us. I probably didn’t understand exactly what it meant to him, but I knew it was something we both basked in.

My life today is full of small moments that bring me peace and joy and let me know that I am on a path I’ve long dreamed of—a path of passion, peace, and people who make my world whole.

But my early childhood was far too full of fear and uncertainty for any child to have endured. So when I look back over my life and try my hardest to find small joys from those days, it’s the trip, the adventure, and the calm of knowing the dimming light is a fraction of what we see. Behind even the sunniest of skies lies a riot of shades that put the brightest of lights to shame. There is always more; if only you can sit still long enough to appreciate it.

To this day, when I see a sunset I’m transported back.

Just a small girl sitting beside her father, feet dangling and heart full.


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