She tottles along the beach with me, blonde curls at the nape of her neck. Chubby fingers with indents at the knuckles holding my hand. She utters things like “rock” or “what’s that” as we navigate the sharp rocks and shell fragments of low tide searching for sea glass. Across the silvery sand my husband helps my son throw rocks into shallow pools of sea water left behind by the outgoing tide. His coat and pants are full of sand and water.
How did we get here?
It wasn’t all that long ago, a broken woman, myself, walked across a sandy beach looking for sea glass. I searched for hours until my neck could take no more, and found only a few pieces. I needed them then. I needed to find beauty in the pain. The sea glass told me that something could come from my brokenness. I could be transformed. Maybe not the same as I once was. Maybe I would never return to the woman I was before losing my first child. But that over time, the salt of my tears would do its work, and beat down my sharp edges. Grief’s tide would tumble me into submission. I needed to believe that I would once again be smooth, and cool.
My head pounded scanning the shore from behind tear swollen eyes for shards hidden in the muck. I missed her so much then. My daughter. My Peyton. My first born. “Infertile,” the doctors had told me, after a year of trying to conceive again following her funeral. “Sometimes there is no justice in this world.”
I look at the little blonde girl tottling along the beach beside me. Our hands and pockets overflow with bits of green and clear and brown and cobalt blue as my husband and son smile off in the distance.
The sea glass today is plentiful. The joy in my heart today is plentiful. Among the broken shells, fragmented rocks, and shallow pools I find what once felt impossible.