Holding Our Expectations Loosely

New Year’s Eve, my father and I decide to drive to the beach to see the moon over the water.

We hop in the car, turn up the heat, head southeast towards the ocean.

But there was no moon to see. Only a thick cloud cover and a sign at the parking lot: Closed after dark.

My father suggests we try another beach, one with lighthouses. So we head south towards it. We talk about over-the-top holiday light displays. We drive by a house my parents thought about buying when I was in middle or high school.

We get to the second beach. It’s just as dark as the first. Of course it is. I roll down my window. Damp, cold ocean air breathes into the car. It’s lovely.

We pull out of the parking lot and head northwest home. We take the scenic route. We talk about men’s suits, the beige one my father bought 30 years ago and wore to my cousin’s rehearsal dinner two months ago.

When we drive by the waterfront views, we can’t see much beyond the porch lights of houses on the shoreline. We talk about restaurants in the area, one I used to waitress at and one we often take out-of-town visitors to.

“How was it?” my mother calls as we walk in the house. “We couldn’t see the moon,” I say. “It was too cloudy.”

We didn’t get the moon that we came for. We got the unassuming pleasure of easy conversation and easy silence between the conversation. We got the delight we can get when we hold our expectations loosely. And allow ourselves to experience not what we demanded of the world, but what the world was waiting to offer us.

So I call up to my mother, “And it was a lovely time.”

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Increasing JoyCaitie Whelan