"Warning, full mom alert" she said to me with a hint of laughter in her voice. I had just met up with Ashley, Nina, and the rest of my family on a random street corner in the middle of Manhattan. It was the first time in months that we had been reunited. Naturally Mom was a bit excited (to say the least). And as if having the family all together wasn't enough excitement for Mom, she was also the proud owner of a new I-Pad mini. Thus, it goes without saying that Mom spent the day in NYC constantly snapping photos. Ashley, who seemed to find NYC city a bit too crowded, was greatly amused by our Mother's enthusiasm and constant requests for us to pose for pictures. Weather it was in front of the Christmas tree, the ice rink, or the toy soldier, Mom was more than a little trigger happy.
As much as we joked about her constant request for pictures I must admit that it was this enthusiasm which lead to the documentation of a very important moment. This was the instant when Ashley realized she forgot her avocado plants at school in Mass. "But they were doing so well", Ashley expressed. "They were actually growing!" With hands pressed against her mouth and eyes filled with disappointment, Ashley could only gaze towards the heavens as Mom captured the moment with the tap of a finger.
Only later, after returning to the ship and setting back out to sea did I begin to process what I witnessed that day. As silly and tourist-esque as the constant pictures and comments may have seemed, Mom was living life. She was soaking up the day and enjoying every bit of having her family (and Nina) together. She was basking in the beauty of NYC at Christmas time and treasuring the company with whom she was getting to experience it. In a sense, she was living the life that I long for. A life that is lived to the fullest, a life in which we learn to appreciate all that life has to offer. As I travel about the world, running to the tops of mountains, gazing at a seemingly never-ending sea, and experiencing new cultures, I strive for a variety of things. For one, I search for adventure, but I also hope for excitement, long for success, and try to learn from my mistakes so that I might become a better person.
So today I draw inspiration from my Mom, who has lived a very full life. Full in the sense that she has lived in far away lands, committed herself to an honorable profession, and acted as a mentor to a great deal of young people. And yet recently she has shown me something very simple. Her "full mom alert" antics in NYC are a reminder that one should cherish life. We should not be afraid to treasure each day, to do the things that give us joy, and to take as many pictures as we please. For one day we will look back and remember today. So here's to living a life in which we learn to appreciate all of the Christmas Miracles, no matter how small they may be. For we are yet to grasp how fleeting our lives truly are.
"Life is about experiencing all the things you find interesting and fascinating. Just get out there and experience as much as you can. Participate in life." - Louie Zamperini