“Mommy, come play with us!”
His eyes pleaded with mine and I set my project down. The skies couldn’t be bluer. The leaves more golden.
The air was warm and perfect for running barefoot through the thick carpet of leaves.
At our old house, the pin oaks dropped dump truck loads of these fine little slivers, impossible to really get up even after days of raking. But here at our new place, maple leaves look festive and inviting as they dance their way to the ground.
They are big and fluffy, and rake up beautifully.
He grabbed one rake and I the other. We pulled and piled till the heap was as high as my waist.
Then we dropped the rakes, stepped back and let her rip.
Pell mell we tumbled squealing into the leaves.
I squeezed my eyes tight and lay quiet under that mount of crunchy goodness and felt five years old again.
Funny, cause just ten minutes before the pressures of life were heavy on my shoulders.
This thing of life is hard sometimes. Heavy. I forget to notice the golden sunlight splashed on the dying leaves.
I sat up, and he did too, this little boy of mine suddenly so grown up.
Leaves clung to our hair and we shrieked with laughter.
We stood up and danced and shrugged to get leaves from under our shirts.
Delightful in the trees, delightful in a pile, but no fun down your clothes.
Then we raked the pile high and ran again. And again.
Alannah stood a few feet away, and as I came up laughing again, her face was pure heaven.
She laughed and glowed. As far as she knew, she WAS in heaven.
Mommy was carefree. And she was too.
It’s hard sometimes to choose to let go of the grief, and allow your heart to shriek in childlike laughter.
But they need this, these delightful children of mine.
They need to see a mommy who values the joy of the moment.
Again and again I look into their faces and want to be what they need.
And I find, there in that place of becoming what they need, that I actually needed it too.
Memories of last year, and our long hard, cold winter. Of weeks in the hospital and a cold grave and long weeks of quiet asking God why. Of tears and a move and life marching onward when we weren’t ready. And now, fall is here again and it is stunningly beautiful. The colors of the fiery trees up against the green fields. The smell of woodsmoke in the air and warm mugs of coffee in our hands. Flames dancing in the fireplace, soft blankets for story time.
Must I let the cold of last winter steal the beauty of this one fall moment?
“Come to me,” He whispers, “yes, you, when you are so heavy. I will give you rest.”
Rest – freedom to see the beauty around us for what it really is. He is an artist, this God of ours.
And the night is dark, but even then the stars shine bright, if we will just take the time to notice them.
So let last year go.
The leaf shudders one last time and releases its grip on the branch and falls.
It joins the sea of others and gets lost on the confetti sprinkled ground. Today is beautiful. Breathtaking.
It is FREE.
Just like I was created to be. I look at the pile of leaves again.
And I let God carry all the sighs and tears, and I glance at my little boy again.
“On your mark, get set, GO!”
We run, the wind in our hair, and our bare feet pounding toward the pile. We jump. It is delightful.