OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACorporate Spain shuts down on Sunday. The grocery stores, big box emporiums, local tiendas, and shopping malls close their doors.

Restaurants, bars, and cafes, however, remain open. Families and friends gather, drink, laugh, and linger.

A holy day. It’s not uncommon, even in February, to see families walk along the paseo, by the beachfront. Children kick a soccer ball, as daughters walk with their mothers. Everybody exhales.

February has been a busy month—our town has three weeks leading up to Carnival, meaning there are events involving food and drink, parades, and magic. It’s wonderful. And exhausting.

I didn’t want to miss any part of such a uniquely beautiful tradition, and so I angled for invitations, and listened for gatherings.  I didn’t want to hear about something amazing, after the fact. I carried around a vague anxiousness.

Carnival was an exquisite scarf. Vibrant. Colorful. Sometimes a little constricting.

And then, it was my son’s birthday. He turned seven, and it was beautiful, and difficult, and tender. I had to reschedule the location of his party three times in two days due to freakish weather.

Carnival behind us, and the party complete, Sunday came. We drank coffee, and walked to the beach for sea glass. We drove to a nearby town, and smelled some flowers. We ate lunch, and bought pastries that tasted like God.

I held my childrens’ hands as we walked. I rubbed their soft hair, let them sit on my lap. I smelled their necks, and remembered.

This is why we’re here. We’re in Spain because we seek these holy days, these moments of clarity.

We are here to stop, to breathe, and to hold them close.

Thank you, Sunday.

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