For as long as I can remember, my cousin Lauren was always the brave one. She lead us on wild adventures through the trees and bushes, making up scary stories along the way about poisonous frogs and deranged neighbours. Tess and I would follow closely behind her, masking our hesitations well, wishing to be as gutsy as her.


She continued to lead the way throughout our younger years, fearless with her long blonde hair blowing in the breeze. She was the first to go to “big” school, the first to get her license and now she will be the first to walk down the aisle. Throughout life I’ve always looked to Lauren for guidance, asking her questions and depending on her advice. She was always much more than a cousin; she was a sister.

To prove to you how blindly I trusted her word, I’ll tell you a story: Lauren had come home from school one day – she was about seven so I must have been five or six – and told Tess and I that she learned in school (she went to Mount Saint Agnes) that sticking your middle finger up was an insult to God (again, she went to Mount Saint Agnes). Tess and I were absolutely shocked but we thought “if Lauren says so, it must be true!” Lauren then suggested we stick our middle fingers downward to show our disapproval for the devil, which we proceeded to do. We spent the rest of the evening on our grandfather’s porch sticking our middle fingers to the floor.

When it came time for me to pick out a wedding present for Lauren, I was stumped. What could I give someone who had given me so much in my life? Now living in England, Lauren has access to a better variety and the latest trends and gadgets. Still living in Bermuda, I was limited. I spent weeks contemplating what to do until just yesterday, while getting ready to travel 3,500 miles to proudly share in her and Ben’s special day, I decided to bring Lauren a humble piece of home – a bottle of sand from our childhood.

Although she’s lived in England for what seems like an eternity, I know Lauren still thinks of Bermuda as her home. As kids we spent our lives swimming and playing in the sand and water on our property. In those days everything was carefree, life was simple and anything could be made better with a slice of watermelon. The salt water, the grains of sand and the sunshine warming our faces was home. As Lauren and Ben embark on building their lives together and making a new home, I give to her a piece of her old home, hoping it brings her as much happiness and peace as it used to. I love you Lauren, thank you for always leading the way.

For my gift to Lauren, I purchased a small glass bottle from the grocery store and emptied it contents. Anything will do, it all depends on how much sand you want to collect. I then washed it out and filled it, making sure to collect the prettiest sand with pieces of broken shells mixed it. I then corked the bottle and tied a ribbon around the top. If you’re looking to do the same thing without the homemade effort, bottles of pink sand are available for $6.00 at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo gift shop.