Like a camera out of focus, everything in front of me was just a little bit off. I pinched my eyes to temper the blur, to see that the world around me was, in fact, real. It was a moment that I knew was coming, yet when it came it was as if I was surprised.
A damp chill kept the dirt parking lot at bay, though the rented SUV I was in sat at a bias with the right front wheel perched on a rogue mound of packed mud. My shoulders hugged at my ears to fight the chill. I turned the ignition and waited for the engine to warm. I’d have to hurry if I wanted to get home in time for them to see it. I took a long, deep, breath and paused to let the memories dance around me.
I sent a text to my wife: Got it.
Two little words, an immeasurable amount of joy. Immeasurable, but not entirely unique. I’d been there before, just never alone. That was a first and it wasn’t ideal, dictated by one of life’s situations. That said, I sat there with a tickle in my throat. Memories applied, my past and present collided, in that dirt lot.
I took another long breath to savor my passenger; the gratitude for the people I love, the life I live. The grin on my face required no mirror or selfie. It was a moment, not fleeting but repeating, and when it came, surprised or otherwise, it was as sweet as they come.
Just beneath my elbow, the tip of a Christmas tree scratched at my arm. With an excited heart, I pulled out of the parking lot, and left my arm right where it was. The road in front of me was clear, but maybe a little bit different now that the moment was with me. Sometimes, I’m caught off guard by the good things in life, and if it takes an idle engine for me to see through the blur, I’m more than okay with that. I crossed the bridge, my grin held up by traditions – old and new.