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Finding Joy in the Most Unexpected Place

I have been beyond sad the last few weeks. It makes no sense because summer is finally here, but all of these recent suicides have rocked me to the core (for those who do not know me well, my father committed suicide in 2007). So the last few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster…

This weekend my husband and I took our four kids to a weekend music festival not too far from where we live. The first day we had a blast. The weather was beautiful, we caught up with old friends who we had not seen for years, and saw performances of bands that we absolutely love. Life was as good as it gets...

The second day of the festival was an entirely different story. It was rainy and gray, so our kids were stuck indoors (and thus spent hours bickering with each other). My husband and I thought long and hard about bringing them back to the festival, not only because of the weather, but because of their their overall “annoyingness.” I wanted to see the Cold War Kids, a band I have followed for more than a decade, but I was totally ready to bail and stay home. However, my husband finally convinced us to go. So we packed up rain gear and sweatshirts and headed out to the concert after dinner. And it ended up being much better than anticipated. We bought our kids gelato and then they were able to run around the lawn of the festival grounds, kicking a ball around, screaming, and burning off steam, as we listened to music and took it all in…

Not too long after we arrived we were approached by a smiling woman in a yellow rain jacket who had sparkles on her forehead. Her rain jacket was actually exactly same rain jacket as our six-year old, Claire! Her name was Hattie, she was radiant, and her presence was calming and joyful. All that I felt emanating from her was pure love.

Hattie spent a significant chunk of time visiting us, talking with our kids, and sharing her face sparkles with Gabby and Claire (our two youngest). She seemed genuinely interested in meeting us, which in this day and age seems so unusual, as it is not often that strangers introduce themselves to us and want to meet and talk to us. Mothers of large, or “large-ish,” families can probably relate to the dirty glances that one often gets when bringing all of their kids out in public at once!

My daughters loved Hattie and made a pact that they will look out for her at this same music festival in future years. I thanked her and assured her that we will always remember her! Besides knowing that her name is Hattie, all that we know is that she is from Dallas, TX…

Here is a photo of Hattie with our 2 youngest daughters, Gabby and Claire:

I don’t know if Hattie will ever see this, but if she does, thank you so much for your caring and love for us, who were total strangers to you up until this night. Thank you for the gift of sparkles and reminding me we can find joy in the most unexpected places. I feel blessed that we shared a few moments in time with you, Hattie, and you came into my life exactly when I needed to have my faith restored in humanity.

My experience tonight reminded me of one of my favorite quotes by Paolo Coelho:

“We are travelers on a cosmic journey, stardust, swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.”

I hope that we can all find and hang onto memories like mine when our world seems like such a sad and dark place. May we all be “Hatties” to and for each other throughout our lives…