Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Breaking Sand Dollars to Release Doves

 This Valentine’s Day, my teenage son did the sweetest thing; he gave me strength.

Let me explain: In 2021, when my liver started failing because of cancer treatments, my Aunt BoAnn and Uncle Frank came to see us all the way from another state! They bought dinner, brought gifts for each person in our family, and even watched the kids when Mike rushed me to the emergency room. Anyway, each of the kids cherished their time with my aunt and uncle and have taken exceptional care of the gifts they received. But this especially made an impact on Trey. During that visit, he’d received several sand dollars and learned how to break them to release the doves inside.

But even as time passed, Trey couldn’t bring himself to break them. “They’re so awesome. I can’t stand to destroy them.”

So, I looked it up online. “But it’s good luck!” I said then read the search results. “Once the sand dollar is broken open, the five jaw apparatuses are said to look like doves.” I pointed to the ‘doves’ from a broken sand dollar in his room. “Broken sand dollars release goodwill and peace into the world.”

He didn’t quite agree with me. And although he loved the gift, he vowed to keep them safe. Anyway, months passed and despite Trey’s best efforts, since sand dollars are quite fragile, some of them did start to break. I watched as a sand dollar at a time would disappear from his shelf, replaced by doves. And although I didn’t ask Trey about any of this, I just found it interesting until only one sand dollar remained unbroken, in February of 2023.

I’d called in sick to work, suffering beyond words. And I felt so tired. Trey handed me something wrapped in tissue along with a note. “Read the note first?” he asked, and I read it aloud.

“I am giving you a sand dollar,” I read his words on the paper, “but not just any sand dollar…the intact one! Because out of all of us, you have stayed the strongest the last few years. Not only that, but you have inspired so many lives.” Tears filled my eyes as I continued reading his words. “You have earned the one and only sand dollar.” I smiled. “Use it wisely. From Trey.”

I gave Trey the biggest hug. It’s crazy that he’s almost six feet tall and that he has such a tender, loving heart. I’m so grateful for him, every single second of every day. So, as I read his words again this Valentine’s Day, I realized once more the importance of telling the people in our lives just how much they matter to us. 

I am so incredibly fortunate to have such amazing family members and friends in my life. If I have stayed strong at times, it’s simply a testament to the kind of people who surround me. I am lucky and blessed. This Valentine’s Day, I wanted to tell all of you how much I love and appreciate you. I know the best people in the world. Thank you for your kindness to me!

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