Every now and again, I'll wake my kids up super early and do something we call "A Sunrise Drive." We bundle up, (it's usually fall or winter when we do these, although I am inspired to try a summer one because it would be warmer and probably way more pleasant!) pack some snacks, blankets and lawn chairs, and pile into the minivan. We don't always have a destination in mind, but often just head East and find a spot near the water or on a hillside. Then we wait, and watch for the sun to rise.

The last Sunrise Drive we did was in October. But my son, who loves these little adventures, asked if we could do one to greet the first sunrise of the New Year. And I thought that was a really cool idea, and agreed.

He set his alarm for 4:45 and woke us all up. Bleary eyed, we made our way to the van and headed to grab cocoa for the kids and coffee for the grownups.

We could see the sky start to brighten with a soft amber light, and the excitement of our little adventure started to set in. The caffeine helped, too.

We drove for about an hour until we came upon an empty little beach in Surry.

I have to say, I thought more folks would be out doing this, but it was a brisk 23 degrees, so that may have helped with how deserted places were.

As we unpacked our chairs from the back of the van, the kids an I watched this huge Bald Eagle fly quietly over our heads. It was breathtaking, and in my opinion, a good omen for things to come.

We set up along the empty beach, with front row seats to watch the light show.

And then we waited.

The sunrise was expected at 7:11 a.m. in Surry that morning. I checked.

It was about 7:15 when the first little glimpse of light started to peek out from the horizon. (Check out the photos in the gallery below!)

As the sun made its way higher and higher into the sky, the air around us started to warm up, and it was as if 2021 was giving us a bright, reassuring hug as it greeted us.

It was such a cool moment, made even more awesome by the fact that I was surrounded by my kids. That we got to share the dawn of a New Year together, and send off what has been one of the most challenging years in history, felt tremendously cathartic.

No one knows what this year will bring. But for one bright and beautiful moment on New Years morning, I felt hopeful.

And we will definitely be doing this again next year!

May the coming year bring more light and less darkness into all of our lives.

Happy New Year!

First Sunrise of 2021

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