Torrey Pines Nature Reserve and Beach are a haven and playground for me so when I see others enjoying the park and I’m asked to take a photo or people are taking photos of each other, and it feels right, I will ask, “Would you like a photo together? What brought you to Torrey Pines? Are you from the area or visiting?” I’ve met the most interesting people and had some of the most surprising and incredibly heart felt present moment exchanges and photo memories like this one on a recent Saturday:
What brought you to Torrey Pines? “We love it here. My girls are happy because their nanny and her friend are here visiting them from New York. My wife died of breast cancer a year ago. We brought her here to get treatment and my two daughters and I stayed to start a new life.”
That was not the story I expected to hear. It’s so easy to make assumptions and judgments. About people. About family dynamics. About everything. In the few minutes before I approached this man while watching the five of them play at the water’s edge, my mind whirred with what their family story might be, never anticipating his answer and immediately feeling a range of emotions from sadness to inspiration to gratitude as I listened to him talk.
I’ve thought many times about this connection since then – not only admiring his courage and devotion to his daughters, but also my own thoughts about family and starting over.
Lots to still consider but this I know: Family comes in all shapes and sizes and you can begin again wherever you land.
What do you believe about family and new beginnings?