Looking back to summer

Yesterday it seemed like the sun might set at 3:30 in the afternoon, the sky was black and ominous and promised showers but it was bone dry outside.  I nuzzled a soft baby head and felt a pang of nostalgia wash over me.  It feels like summer just ended last week, then our daughter was born and here I am knee deep in dark, wet days.  Some quick math tell me Liberty is almost 10 weeks old so I must be off somewhere…oh how my mind wants to cheat and steal when it comes to time.

Just before the actual sunset, spectacular beams of light burst through the trees and lit up our patch of land.  The sky was still so dark.  But somehow light was finding its way through.  It was so dramatic and so stunning, I made the kids come outside and see it before the light disappeared.  Writing about it makes me think of sweet friends who we were privileged to share life with last year at church and in our home group.  They abruptly moved to Arizona in August in pursuit of treatments that might help Bryan’s aggressive melanoma.  The road they are walking, at just freshly past 30 years old and with two young kids, makes my face pale.  Talk about darkness in the light of day.  Talk about needing light to burst through and find its way.  Talk about wanting to steal time.  Not a day goes by that I don’t wonder why things like that happen.  It is anything but fair.

My reaction to thinking about them yet again is twofold…first prayers for the miracles they need.  And second is calculating all that lies around me – a sacred, precious, puking mess.  Three days in with a wicked stomach virus that has completely taken over.  As I sat with Finn yesterday on my lap, killing time until bedtime by watching tractor movies on youtube, I breathed his smell in deep.  I rested my weary head on his sweaty neck and remembered the highlight of his summer as he chatters on about each John Deere he sees on the screen.  It was this:

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He could sit on my lap and stare at that picture for ten minutes.  And believe me, there isn’t much that keeps him busy for ten minutes!  Its been two and a half months and he still asks every time we drive that directions, “Can we go to the fair mama?”.  I thought doing the fair, nine months pregnant, with five other children might just do me in.  And it may have come close.  But oh the happy in his voice when he talks about it, remembers with me, the insane crazy fun we had practically living at the fairgrounds for six straight days.

Bedtime finally came and we did the same heartbreaking routine every night these days:

Mama (at his bedside): Finn, what song should I sing with you?

Finn:  No, I don’t want you to go mama, I want to sleep WITH you.

Mama:  How about I pick a song?  (I do, and I start to sing)

Finn (big brown eyes brimming with sadness): Oh mama, no, please don’t leave me.

Over and over again.  If I start to cry, like I did tonight, I leave sooner than later because there is a baby to feed and other kids that need tucking in.  I promise him that I’ll see him in the morning and that when the sun comes up, I will be there.  And I think again of our friends in Arizona and how much I want their sun to come up and their too-long-night to be over.  Every single day – even our puke-filled ones or the ones where all your kids are in hysterics at the grocery checkout or the ones where all your life’s efforts don’t seem to count for anything or any other kind of less than lovely day – is such a tender gift.  To be prized, tucked away and treasured.  Tomorrow is not promised to us, today is what we have.