the importance of being earnest

We spent the evening at the beach. It was gorgeous. Where we live, the air is starting to dry out, the water remains warm, the evenings are cooler and breezy.


Our kids were in the water, later my husband joined them. We were near a mom and her young daughter. She was there when we got there, and we stayed for a couple hours. I was just so impressed: I’ve never taken our kids to the beach without another adult with me. I could now, I’m sure, since the kids are strong enough swimmers to save me if necessary, but when they were two or three or even four? I’d have been a basket-case, worrying about water safety and general beach logistics… I’m pretty sure my level of stress would have ruined the outing. (Our children and my husband are pretty sure, too.)

But this mom, she was just hanging out, relaxed, enjoying her daughter, seeming to have not a single worry. I wanted to go back in time and be like her, just once.

At one point, as the sun started to set, the mom took her daughter to the water’s edge, and they sat there, letting the waves lap over them. The light was so perfect and the little girl’s giggles were just so infectious. I couldn’t help it, I went over to them.

“Excuse me, are you here alone?”


“The light is just so nice and you both look so happy… can I take a picture and text it to you? It’s so hard to get pictures of moms with their kids, especially if moms are like me and always taking the pictures!”

“Well, yes, sure, I would love that!”

They posed, I took a few pictures with my phone, and sent them. I didn’t think it was that big a deal: last year during a beach trip, a little boy ended up in some pictures I took of our kids… I introduced myself to and showed his mother the pictures and emailed them to her (I had used an actual camera–remember those?). She emailed a “thanks” and that was that.

But this mom today… I sent her those pictures, and she messaged me this (identifying information removed).



She made my day. Actually, I think she made my year.

And I’m going to text her the link to this post. My kindness and caring? She brought it out of me. She compelled me.

14 thoughts on “the importance of being earnest

  1. I thanked God for placing you on my path when I needed some encouragement. I’m still touched by your kindness. I sent the link to your blog along with the pictures to my mom who lives in The Netherlands and it touched her too. Again…thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!!

  2. Hi. I don’t know if this blog is still active and I’m not sure you’ll remember me.
    We met briefly 7 years ago on a beach in F and you took a picture of my daughter and me. You also mentioned me in your blog that night.
    I wanted to reach out and tell you that eventhough is been 7 years since you wrote that blog, I still cherish it so much. It pops up on my Facebook every single year and I repost it loyally as I want people to know what the kindness of a stranger can do to others. The memory on Facebook popped up again today and I just had to reach out and say thank you once again!! I pray you and your family are safe and healthy. God bless 🙏 🙏🙏❤


    1. hi — Oh my gosh. I do remember you and your daughter and I so incredibly thrilled and gratified that our encounter had such an impact on you. You’ve made my YEAR. My family and I are doing well–I’ve neglected my blog given my job and life generally, but you reaching out just inspired me to get back at it. Thank you.

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