It seemed we were walking in a painting. Leaves of every color swirled in the air all around us as the gentle autumn breeze spread fall colors like a smooth water-color brush.
We had explored briar-guarded hollows, walked along barbed-wire fences, collected a delightful spectrum of fall glory in our little basket. Standing on the top of the hill overlooking our back yard and house I wanted to freeze the moment. To always remember their delighted giggles as they chased each other through twirling leaves. To remember the questions they asked and the answers I sometimes feel ill-equipped to give. To freeze childhood…to linger in these moments of falling glory.
Before I could find life’s pause button it moved on without me. She shot down the hill in a hurry to run free and explore. And as so often happens when you are the one with the littlest legs he was left there with me on the edge of adventure. Hesitating he smiled up at me, “Mom, I’m going to put my stick in your basket. Okay? Cuz I don’t want to lose it, but I want to run. I’ll always come back to you so I can leave it here.”
Clumisly knocking and twisting he shoved his stick in the basket and he was gone. Running on after her….into adventure.
And there I stood autumn dancing on the breeze around me…..
…I want to run…I’ll always come back to you….
Life became a blurry mix of colors as my eyes teared up and I was lost for a moment.
There is so much life to live. Roads to run, hills to roll down, adventures to be had. For this breath, for this moment he is still our little boy.
But I know how life moves (how that pause button eludes) and in a breath…the ragged breath of a life loved at full speed…he’ll be a man. Always a little boy to my heart.
Let it be so, Father.
I barely breathe the prayer…a whisper from my heart.
How I long to be a mother that helps him find his wings. A mother that helps him develop roots. The place he calls home (no matter where we are) and the place that he will return to when his life is bigger than our back yard.
My hunky hubby and I speak often about making our house the “soft place” for our children to fall (really for all the children in our lives). As they grow and learn, push against boundaries and lean hard into life, we will want to be that place even more so. A place where love meets you at the door — offering a full fridge, stuff to do, life to be lived out loud full of honesty and a healthy dose of sarcasm, where questions are encouraged, laughter is in full supply, and there are dogs to warm your feet and lick your face.
We talk about it now. We plan it for someday. And I realize we live it everyday…because tomorrow will be today. And tomorrow that sweet boy with the knobby knees who looks up at me with such an impish grin will be the man who looks down at his short lil mom as he hugs her goodbye.
Our hill spread out before him, he pumped his skinny legs as fast as they would go. I just watched him go.
I carried the basket full of leaves and the precious stick cargo down the hill. Smiling as I heard them laughing and playing.
“Hello, mom!” A cheery little voice greeted me as a sweet lil face popped over the back fence. Our monkey man has been very proud of his new ability to scale fences and avoid gates. My heart skipped a beat…a whole lifetime of dreams and adventure await him. But today, while his hands are still small I get to be his mama.
In a flash he was down from the fence and opening the back gate for me. “Mom, come watch….” he hollered as he shot off towards the monkey bars.
The gate clicked behind me. The back yard a brilliant world alive with green grass, falling reds and yellows, dogs wrestling for a ball, and two sets of bright blue eyes twinkling at me from the swing set.
Here surrounded by Autumn in its full glory I breathe it all in. The colors, the smell, the sound of the breeze through the changing trees. And I whisper a short prayer as I watch my sweet peanuts play….
…Father, please help me always see the glory that falls around us….
I linger there.