Families Are like Dolphins
Sarah. Age 12. Warwick, Pennsylvania

Searching like a helicopter with a spotlight, I was beginning to give up. I was making my way down the beach, letting the sun—which sank deeper and deeper into the dark horizon—light my path with bright shades of pink, orange, red, yellow, and purple. I searched for something extraordinary and unique, something no one had found yet. A rare, breath-taking shell. My family, who carried thousands of shells in their bags, walked alongside me collecting shells, yet I never found a worthy, eye-catching shell. My eyes fluttered from their bags down to mine, but the only shells I had were either broken or chipped and streaked with muddy-brown lines; furthermore, they weren’t even worth a penny in my heart.

Letting out a depressed sigh, I dragged my feet down the beach. I reached my hand down into the cold, moist sand and grabbed a handful of tiny shells from the ground. Letting the worthless, deformed shells slip from my hand between my fingers, I stared down as they streamed from my hand and back onto their home on the sand. There in my palm lay a quarter-sized shell with streaks of pink, white, purple, and red. Triumphantly, I placed the shell into my bag and skipped down the beach.

Suddenly I was tackled by my two little sisters, Jordyn and Emma, who were followed by my mom, uncle, and grandparents. “We saw you weren’t finding many shells, so we collected some for you, Sarah!” Jordyn, my six year old sister, exclaimed happily. Jordyn and Emma dumped thousands of different colored, gorgeous shells into my bag. “Thank you for all the wonderful shells. You are the best family I could ever wish for.” I said with a bright smile as I thanked them gratefully. Giving them each a hug, I noticed something unusual in the water. I became frozen with fear as I stared at the dark silhouettes in the water with wide eyes and a frozen breath.

“Shark!” I shrieked at the sight of the dorsal fin slightly appearing out of the water.

An amused laugh came from my mother as I slowly walked back from the water’s edge. “Calm down, Sarah! They aren’t sharks; they are just dolphins! Be quiet so you don’t scare them off! To see a family of dolphins at sunset on a beach is rare opportunity. They are even helping each other catch fish to feed their family.” My mom whispered quietly, pointing to the dolphin’s fin as it submerged back under the water, only to re-emerge on the surface again.

“Sarah, the dolphins are just like us! We helped get you shells when you couldn’t catch any,” Emma, my little five year old sister, squealed happily. I never realized that, the dolphins are there for each other like my family. We are all together in our own pod of dolphins, helping each other survive and learn.

With bright smiles on our faces, we watched the dolphins swim off into the deep, blue sea. They were together, side by side, and helped one another bound through the gentle waves. The small silhouette of the dorsal fins above the water sank into the delicate, fragile waves. A family. Like a spotlight moving from the dolphins to my family, we all came together, side by side like the dolphins, and admired the setting sun and silently thanking one another. We stood there for a moment longer, admiring the bright shades of pink, orange, red, yellow, and purple from the setting sun as they begin to fade into the deep shades of purple and blue of the night sky. The only light now was the peaceful glow of the moon, but it didn’t matter now because we were all a family. We needed no flashlight or spotlight to lead us home. All we needed was our love for one another to lead us home. Family. I suddenly stopped and turned around, seeing a small fin appear out of the water far off the coast, “Thank you, dolphins. You showed me that I could be a dolphin like you and that I can always count on my family.’’

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