Seashells by the Seashore

I would like to introduce a good friend of mine. I've known her for about 4 years. She is one of my dearest friends, even 3,000 miles apart. I would do anything for her. And when I need something, I would not hesitate to go to her. She is that kind of person. But I have only seen her face to face once. This online thing is a strange and wonderful world. She is a professional writer and I was blessed by her writing recently. I think you will be, too.

For me it is the end to the perfect day. The wind is blowing softly, the sandpipers are scuttling along the shore while the suns golden glow shimmers as it sinks below the waves. My six-year old son skips along the sea, jet black hair flying behind him. He delights in the unfamiliar of the shore songs that greet us and offer up the ocean's bounties. Shells of many colors: brown, tan, black, white and an occasional tinge of pink. He runs, collecting both big and small. He scoops them up,washes them off, and dumps them in the bag as we make our way down the beach. I help, pointing out the errant ones that he has missed along the way. But of course, I leave the chipped, broken and those shells whose imperfections make them less than a desireable collectors item.

"Mom, LOOK at all my shells," his voice booms. "There are hundreds of them."

I peek my head into the bag. Bits and pieces with jagged edges greet me.

"But Kullen, these shells are all broken," I say, trying to be helpful. "Why don't you collect ones like this?" handing him a perfect specimen that has just washed ashore.

"But Mom, they don't have to be whole to be perfect. They are beautiful just the way they are."

And with that, he looks into my eyes and holds my gaze with those deep brown eyes of his and gives me a dirty black shell, the majorityof whose pieces are scattered over the bottom of the Atlantic. But when I turn the shell over I see he is right. The center makes a perfect circle which circles back upon itself. The color is uniform and as dark as ebony. And as I stare at that shell I suddenly see my son within it. They both have a few cracks and even some missing pieces. And as I stare down at the small piece of shell in my hand, I come to the sudden realization that both it and my son are perfect just the way they are.

Sometimes it takes a six-year old boy with autism to remind you.

Written by Cheryl L. Dieter copyright 10.10.2008 Do not reprint without permission.



ConverseMomma said...

It's always children that lead the way to the truth, right?
This was beautiful.

Ansley said...

I feel the same way about Cheryl.

Anonymous said...

Wow Grace. That was so kind. I think I need to have you deliver my eulogy (sp) when the time comes!!!! I feel the same way about you and Ansley too!