I'm sitting in a dark hotel room at about 11:30 pm.
I can hear the soft breathing of my children asleep on beds and pull out couches; the on and off again whir of the air conditioning unit; and random voices that pass my door.

Also,  I got beer!

Look where I drank it and sought to find my zen.

2 person hot tub in our room?  Thank you very much

And we are in need of some Zen.

If you've been reading lately, you probably know that my MIL suffered a stroke recently, and Left Brain has been traveling to visit her in a hospital about 4 hours away from where we live, while I have held down the fort at home.   This weekend we decided to part once again with our already meager funds and get a hotel room so that we could be together, visit his mom, and maybe enjoy some vacation - ish time too.    Since we would also be close to my own parents.

So I packed up the girls and all our gear - which let's be honest, should be a frickin Olympic Sport, and off we went.    The kids deemed the hotel the best place on earth they had ever seen, largely due to the King size bed (um no, that's for mommy and daddy), the ginormous flat screen TV (I'd like to say it is also for us, but I know it will be on Disney or Nick Jr.), and then this view just outside the main elevators:

Hello slide of fun!!    And while I knew that this little indoor playground was here, I was never more grateful for its existence than when we learned shortly after arriving....

... that they transferred his mother to another hospital.
Guess where?
yes, as in HOME.
As in, the place we just traveled from----  to be closer to her.
And to which she now was going.

Really life?  Really?
Half of one day/night already spent at hotel, too late to cancel 2nd night.
That we really could not afford in the first place.

I know I said I wanted to practice daily gratitude,  seek the beauty in life, and be present for all the now moments...  but holy crap Life: I get it okay?    I even did yoga in the hotel room and meditated in the damn sauna.    You can stop with the lessons now, m'kay?

It keeps running on ahead of me, and I keep hollering at it to come back and behave the way I want it to.

Alright, refocus.   Be.In.The.Now.
Where's the silver lining?

Oh yes!  Just follow the sounds of laughing and splashing water.

(excuse the bad photos - all were taken with my iPhone 4 which started to shake and shiver and worry when it saw I was holding it near water; because it is clearly aware of how my life has been going lately.)

You know, sometimes it's not about You.   We all get that, right?

The kids are having a blast.   I don't know why a hotel vacation is such a BIG thing to them, but they love it.   As a parent, that is a huge source of relief and enjoyment; to know that my kids can travel well.
And since our only vacations really are our annual summer camping trip, this has been a nice treat for them to enjoy.   It has helped take their minds off worry over their grandma; and being around happy children:   it's hard to not catch their enthusiasm.   THEY needed this.

If I can just get them to stop fighting over who gets to push the elevator buttons; it would be darn near perfect.
Being close to my parents also, gave us the chance to treat them -- as a way of saying thanks and showing our gratitude and appreciation for all they do for us.   All the times they have been there for us.  It's a cool thing indeed when you are given the chance to treat your parents.

A chance for some good food, good company, and just plain silliness.

"I think I need glasses mommy."
"hey mommy, wanna do a selfie?"
Laughter really is the best medicine.

Eventually I reached the kind of mindfulness where I did not even lament the absence of my DSLR camera when I spied these bare limb'd branches with a fresh addition of sparkling snow captured in the street light.   Oh sure, my Canon would have captured it much better: but this is the Now.  This is what I've got -- and I'm gonna take that shot.

I don't care that the photo is not perfectly captured: the moment was.
Because I breathed deep the crisp, chill air and stood in that softly falling snow and just seized hold of something for the simple reason that I could.   And found, not perfect beauty; but real beauty.

The kind that leaves you filled up and not left wanting.   Just as exiting my parents home with a sense of fullness that can only come from an evening well spent with those you love; and who love you even in your whiniest, poorest moments.  Full bellies.  Full hearts.  The children now fighting over who hugs grandma good-bye first.   

This is  where Life doesn't just run back to you because you screamed and yelled and begged and tossed pretty promises at it.   

It meets you in the middle. 
In that soft place of chances taken and moments not left wanting.  Where your silver lining may be just a glimpse of snow falling on pine branches in the glow of a street light.

A halting reminder to not set your eyes always so much on a path that looks neither left or right; but sometimes looking in places you never expected to find your happy thought.   Or just maybe: you need to help someone smaller than you, find theirs.

And that is when, stopping by a street light on a snowy evening; can make all the difference.

About The Author
Leslie Botchar, aka "RoryBore", is a SAHM enjoying life one day - and one cup of coffee - at at time.
She has had several articles published in The Huffington Post, and hopes to one day marry her skills as Word Wrangler and Photo Ninja. Leslie spills it all on her blog Time Out For Mom, and invites you to join her for some Mom "Me" Time.
Connect with her: Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.