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Trip 3: The perfect view in Miami

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I love a good view. The front row of a concert, the top of a mountain, watching the waves from a hotel balcony. As I travel to 50 places I’ve never been the year I turn 50 there is no shortage of awe-inspiring views. A good view almost always resets my perspective on life. It makes me dream bigger and appreciate more. I found the perfect view in Miami.

It wasn’t from atop a high rise or looking out the window of a trendy restaurant onto the “see and be seen” streets of South Beach. And it wasn’t found in one of the culturally rich neighborhoods that give Miami its vibrancy (and delicious food).

The perfect view in Miami was on the front row of a sunset cruise.  

I looked around the magnificent boat, flush with gratitude. It was my birthday weekend and that was cause for something special. One of my sisters sat next to my mom, patting her leg and lovingly watching her take it all in. My youngest sister was dancing and singing along with the music in all her glory and 2-inch long eyelashes looking cute as could be. My other two sisters were cracking themselves up over who knows what, giggling like they were six years old without a care in the world.

As the boat pulled away from the harbor, the beauty of the city unfolded. Million-dollar homes sat on perfectly landscaped yards … tall buildings framed the sky with tinted glass… even on the water, you could feel the buzz radiating from the shore. The faint sound of salsa music playing in the bars that lined the marina began to fade.

Sitting there, I was immersed in the diversity of one of the most traveled destinations in the world… in the faces and languages around me. Even the tour guide spoke in English and Spanish.  

The boat sped up and the wind whipped my hair into a curly mess.

I looked over the edge of the boat into the vastness before me and my mind began to wander.

It was a jumble of thoughts. I felt blessed to be there, loved by the people around me. I thanked God for the strength and patience and perseverance of the last few years that brought me to this point. I missed my daughter and wondered if this journey was crazy (which I don’t think it is at all but I have moments trying to figure out how to make it all work). I thought about how this wasn’t even on my list of places but due to mother nature’s plan, we ended up here instead of kayaking the mangroves or dolphin watching in Marathon. And then I looked at each of my sisters and thought about their struggles and how they are rising above their own mile markers.

The crowd’s laughter brought me back from my own deep thoughts into the present. The tour guide was telling jokes as he pointed out celebrity homes on Star island.. Will Smith, Rihanna, Julio Iglasias, J-Lo. Wait, J-Lo. I better text my daughter a photo. 

The ooh’s and aah’s became more frequent as passengers gawked at the beautiful homes. 

Even the port of Miami with its massive freight containers (that you know are holding some not so good stuff) looked beautiful in the fading sun and the glimmering lights of the city.

I looked across the aisle to see my mom’s reaction to the whole scene and tears were streaming down her face. At first, I thought maybe she was sick or I needed to open up a can of ‘you-know-what’ on someone for making her cry. Instead, she was simply overflowing with the beauty of the moment. 

Me too, mamma. Me too.