I collected little memories the way the girls collect shells. Carefully, picking them out, dusting them off, staring at them all over and then tucking them away.
They are more than just the cheesy photos I took.
These memories need no picture, they hold the feelings, and the fullness of life that I felt.
The smell of the trees after it drizzled, the way the sun glittered on the ocean as we drove along the beach, our three in the back of the car all tucked up and cosy as we bounced along the sand. They are mornings on sun-warmed rocks, searching for crabs and bright tiny fish in little rock pools, watching Joel learn to cast his own rod and join his daddy down near the waves.
Daniel's scruffy beard, and the way he describes what to look for in the ocean when we're straining our eyes to see the schools of salmon. The way Amie hangs out of the window, letting the wind whip her hair back from her face, her eyes squinting in the sun.
Eden in my beanie, her cheeks flushed pink from running in the cold air.
The memories collected, and the realisation that this is gratitude.
This is the living and breathing and tasting and thanking.
And this is what I want. To wrap them up cosy in a lifetime of memory.
They bickered and squabbled, and I threatened and growled, and we searched for coffee, and hid in the car from the rain after climbing up rocks and being drenched - it was not just a perfectly framed shot.
And at the time those memories might be discarded as the uncomfortable ones, the ones less than perfect, not suited to the pile.
But a closer look reveals their own beauty - flecks of gold even in the imperfect.
So I smile and dust those off too, and pocket them with the rest.
They're the days, and this is the life.