It's been a harrowing summer. Home with my family for the first time in too many years. It's been an exciting, lazy, crazy, suntanned, sticky-love time. And it's been sad too.
One thing about being away from your family so much is that you miss them less. I know, sounds opposite, right? But really it's true. I swear my girls grew inches and inches this summer and I watched each elbow and knee poke out a little more with consternation. I can't keep time away from us.
There are so many things I could share using words. Vacations. Long days in the garden. Frustrated yelling mommy days. Fight with spouse days. Make up with spouse days.
Church. I prayed a lot this summer. My church has an hour on Sunday night where you can go and pray. It's been such a peaceful thing. I look forward to it. There really is so much to share. So much I could write about... but nothing brought me to the computer until, well, today.
Today I took my two little girls downtown to get library cards. Tess already has one, but it needed to be renewed. Little Grace is going into school this fall, so she's big enough for a brand new one. I can't tell you how excited they were. I played along.. thinking jaded thoughts on the inside. Why are they so happy? Why can't we just go to the bookstore? What's the fuss.... Crud. I HATE parking downtown. Do we really have to? I whined in my head even as I smiled and told them how important it was to have a library card and how we borrow the books and practice sharing and responsibility.
And then we parked and got out of the car. The downtown of my city is big. Big buildings, a big center green. My children don't go there often and their excitement rubbed off on me. They talked to each other, hand in hand. Look at that! Why are there so many buses? What do you MEAN some people don't' have cars!?
The day was breezy and the sun filtered through the leaves of the trees. Many of those trees older than the city itself. The library, imposing and majestic with it's marble stairs and lions at the entry made my girls take in big breaths.
The librarian made the cards a VERY BIG DEAL and my girls solemnly and respectfully held them in their small hands with pride. I had to pry them out so they could browse the kids books.
We left seven books and three minds richer. When we crossed the busy street, Tess asked if we could get a hot dog from the cart. And a soda. (A soda is a real treat. They don't get soda.) My mind said EWWWWWWW no, not a hot dog on the corner? Please?
My mouth said. "Good Idea! And okay... soda. But you have to share it with your sister. I'm not buying two." They agreed and I found myself in the most amazing moment of my summer.
We sat on a bench on the town green under a shady tree. They ate hot dogs out of tinfoil wrapping and shared a Coke. I drank a diet Coke (My drug of choice).
And then... then the pigeons came. Unafraid and ready for crumbs. My sheltered little people were amazed. "Why are they so close mommy?"
"They're used to people." I said.
Tess walked into the crowd of birds that gathered. "Look! They won't budge!"
And I don't know why I did what I did next.... but I will be forever grateful for the instinct. I got up and ran into the flock. They flew away in a flurry of feathers all around my girls who laughed and laughed.
The birds didn't go far. "Can I try?" asked Tess.
"Sure!" I said.
And we chased the birds for half an hour. Running and giggling. Soda sloshing in our stomachs. Girls running with birds. Staring into blue skies.
It was nothing short of a miracle.