Since last week, the late afternoon Sun, on our South Florida waters, seems to have a lazy glow. That intensity, felt in mid-July, seems to be toning down a bit; on a breezy evening, it’s nice to sit outside on the patio, and enjoy the evenings – it’s even better, with smell of bar-b-q and a crisp glass of a mild Shiraz in hand.
This has been an amazing summer; it started with a visit from some wonderful friends from Zurich, right around Memorial Day. They helped us welcome another beautiful South Florida summer. Sometimes, when you live in a place, it’s easy to forget how beautiful it is here. They reminded us, again, that we do live in a corner of Paradise.
Soon after, we went on an exciting expedition to Australia; Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns and Brisbane – in three weeks we connected with astonishing natural beauty, amazing food and service, a “no worries, mate” mindset all wrapped with some beautiful memories with childhood friends. On our way back, our 15-year-old declared that this is most likely the last “long vacation” we will take as a family. Her declaration makes me realize that, in the future, it will most likely be the three of us holidaying somewhere – where she will be at a camp or doing some pre-college activity. We will always, leave a piece of ourselves behind, as we discover new things.
Like other turning points, very likely, this is the end of one stage of our lives – and the beginning of something different. It’s as if I am feeling happy and sad at the same time. I am happy that my teenager is starting to become independent; but I am also sad that she is starting to build her own universe – that is different than ours.
Towards the end of our summer, my mother has come to visit us from Bangladesh. Over the years, she has visited us almost every year, around summer, and spent a few weeks. We eat a lot, argue a lot, play a few games of Scrabble and talk about old times, friends and relatives. My conversations with her are peppered with advice on how to do things differently – and how things are never, fully right.
This time, I notice the frailties of her age, which have started to take a toll on her. It’s difficult to watch your (once strong) parents, move on to a different stage of their lives. Maybe, this is the last time she will visit us like this. With this realization, another stage of my life is changing forever. However much I try, it’s still difficult to acknowledge, that the person that has encouraged me all my life to “aim higher” is slowly fading from my life.
Searching for Nirvana, you realize, you never really get there. Just as you get close, the direction changes a bit – or a few more steps are added. As if, you are always waiting, at the doorstep of heaven. On the other hand, maybe it’s simpler than that. Maybe it is that journey – that stairway – this “bitter-sweet” transition, is the real thing. Getting near, but never really getting there.
As the sun settles down, my little mermaid and I play in the pool together. We are mesmerized by the jewels, grottos, sharks and dolphins; We notice the crimson sunset together. She reminds me how beautifully God has painted the sky. I take a lazy dip into the ninety degree pool water. I am at the doorstep of heaven. It’s close to perfect here.
Just like this sunset, tomorrow things will be different. Life will continue with its journey. I will keep climbing those steps again. With a bit of lingering nostalgia, I am grateful for today, to experience this near perfect moment – on this near perfect day – at the end of this near perfect Summer.