With brother and sister buckled up in the back, you crawled onto on my lap next to Granddaddy in his electric mule and we went for a ride in the country.
The entire world lay before us, waiting to be discovered.
And away from the stacks of dirty dishes, the crumb-scattered floor, the unnecessary projects that seem so necessary, and the temptation of empty and screen-centric entertainment, I connected once more with my purpose as I felt your warm body sinking into mine, and I knew in my heart that there is no place on earth I would rather be.
It is easy to be a mama when there is nothing standing between me and you, and I can honestly say I wouldn’t trade a million dollars for the joy of holding you on this night.
Nature must have known we were coming, and put on quite the show for us. There was so much to see. So much to feel. So much to enjoy…
Huge, white birds, taking flight as we drove by, swooping and soaring in the sky above us…
The flooded lake, hiding familiar landmarks and stretching as far as our eyes could see…
Interesting and unusual flowers, evidence that we are experiencing one of the most beautiful summers Oklahoma has known for years…
Puddles of water on the path, splashing around the tires as we plunged into their depths, threatening to muddy our feet…
You pointed and made childish remarks at the masterpiece before us, and I prayed that God was quickening your little heart within you to know and worship the only One who could create such beauty.
And then we entered into the dark, damp forest, towering trees on either side of our path…
I could see your face in the rearview mirror, the gentle breeze causing you to squint your eyes as you laid your head against my chest. Overwhelmed by this part of our drive, you were wearing your scared face, and you were finding strength in my embrace.
How is it that you find comfort and safety in my arms?
You don’t see them, but I still have so many quiet fears swirling around inside of me…
But I would be so brave for you.
You kept your head close to my heart for the rest of our drive and I lowered my own head closer; with one hand securely holding your cheek and my own cheek resting on your head, we communed with one another through whispers and murmurs, and I willed this night to never end.
A skunk in the soybeans made us giggle.
Deer tracks leading through the mud intrigued us.
And finally, deep in the woods, standing majestically against a backdrop of trees, we saw a deer. You sat up, your fears forgotten, and excitedly pointed out that you, though so little and so tiny, could see it, too!
I rejoiced with you, and using your limited and simple vocabulary, we conversed about what we had seen.
But my chest felt cold and empty where your head had been resting, and I wistfully wondered…
Would you lay back against me after this latest thrill?
And my heart heaved a great sigh of contentment and gratitude as I held you once more, deep rivers of powerful mama love pulsing through my veins and wrapping you up in the truest embrace I had to offer.
My precious toddler girl, you will probably have no memory of this night. And if I didn’t sit down and write about it, I probably wouldn’t either. Nights and days, no matter how beautiful or striking, have a way of fading into the years, and, though we intend to remember them forever, slip out of our grasp to join the arsenal of vague and dateless experiences that cause us to cherish life as a beautiful thing.
I’ve only been a mother for 6 1/2 years, but I know how quickly the time goes by, and I know that, next August, you will probably be buckled up in the back of the mule with your brother and sister, singing made-up songs and begging to get out and play in the mud.
And so I know that this night was a blessing.
To our two years of living and loving.
To the beauty of family.
To the goodness of God.