An Autumn Memory
Blonde hair atop a red jacket swung back and forth in the distance. I couldn't see clearly but a certain tilt of the head told me this was my grandson, Emitt.
I sat in my car with the heater running against the October chill waiting for preschool to end and return this child to me. Soon a whistle blew and, like colorful birds, the children flocked around their teacher. Emitt slowed, stopped, and flew from the swing to join the others. The children held a yellow rope and kicked through the autumn leaves as Teacher Kathy led them back to school. A boy in a blue jacket let go and ran--arms outstretched in the wind. A pig-tailed girl in pink stopped to examine an acorn. Grown-up hands led them back to the rope.
Caught off guard by the beauty and simplicity of three-year-old's enjoying the moment, my heart ached and my eyes filled. They weren't thinking about the larger journey they were just beginning. They weren't even aware of their own happiness and freedom. They chattered with the kid closest to them, pushed each other out of line and picked up rocks to show Teacher. The smell of burning leaves, the cool fall air on their faces and the warmth of belonging were not being analyzed--just experienced.
Oh Lord, they are where I long to be. When did I lose the simplicity and joy of being Your child? I'm too grown-up. Help me find my way back.
I joined the other parents and grandparents as we walked in side the school (no rope needed) to sit with our children for "circle time" before going home.
Emitt's eyes lit up when he saw me. "Grandma, I saw you outside. Did you see me?"
"I sure did. I could tell it was you swinging so high!"
He pulled me onto the carpet and snuggled onto my crossed legs. I'd worry about the pain of getting up later.
"Grandma, hold my hands. Yours are warm."
My arms around him, I cupped his hands in mine. They were chilled and dirtied by metal swing chains, muddy rocks and autumn air. Perfect boy hands.
I closed my eyes as Teacher Kathy led us in songs of frogs on logs and ducks in ponds. I didn't think about my larger journey. I let myself sink into this simple time and place. I heard the children's voices, smelled the sweetness of the boy in my arms and let myself be.
The singing ended. I opened my eyes. Time to gather papers, hug Teacher Kathy goodbye and be on our way.
"Grandma, can we go swing before we leave?"
I opened my mouth to say, "No, honey, we need to get home and fix lunch," but instead, I heard myself say, "That sounds good. Race you."
We took off, laughing--leaves flying--swings beckoning--into the moment.
* * *
I learned a lesson that long-ago, autumn day. Enjoy every minute of every day for they fly by like blowing leaves and growing boys. Go ahead--let yourself relax, enjoy the moment and make some wonderful memories.
This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24 NASB