I zip up her coat.
She puts her gloves on herself. We talk about how yesterday she grew upset when I didn’t drive our car right to our old house, and instead turned left to our new one. (The white and yellow houses, as she respectively calls them.)
I take her cotton-covered hand, with sparkly pink pretend nails painted on their ends, and I tell her seriously that a house is important, but that in all of my many moves, I’ve learned truly that where she and her sister and my husband are is my “home.”
I squat down, eye to eye with her, and repeat this a few different ways, to ensure she understands.
We walk to the edge of the driveway to peek at the rising, bright sun that seems to appear over our neighbor’s house.
My daughter is currently in awe of the sun, and of the moon. Last night, she couldn’t contain her excitement as we looked together out her bedroom window at the full moon.
She’s fascinated with describing how it looks to her; she vacillates between calling this particular full moon yellow and white. (She settles on yellow.)
I ask her how the moon makes her feel, and she smilingly responds, “Happy.” I offer to her that the moon makes me feel protected and safe—like someone is watching out for me. I can’t help but silently wonder if, one day, she’ll be my age and looking out at the moon, feeling inexplicably, universally loved.
The baby’s in my arms and she points her teeny, tiny finger out at the sky. My oldest daughter grows even more joyfully animated, in sharing this humbling experience with her small sister.
We observe the near-full moon together in silence. In awe. And then, in pure childlike ability to switch from one thing to another without warning, she’s out of her bedroom and off to the kitchen to help my husband make dinner. I stay a few moments longer, though; the baby still cocooned under my mommywing, and I half-stare at our reflections—sealed together by my body—in the window pane, and half-gaze eagerly at the moon, feeling thirsty for guidance.
I feel hungry for the knowledge of what the hell I should be doing as a mother, as I’m a guide along this ubiquitously challenging and wondrous path of life for my children.
The baby steers her teensy finger towards the kitchen. She wants to go “help” her daddy and big sister. I put her down, and she too is off and running to crawl inside of kitchen cupboards, and stack bowls, and bang spoons on various things for the sheer delight of hearing the differing sounds they make.
I look for one last pause of a breath or two at the moon, stopping in an atypical moment of both reflection and gratitude, for this simple, vast place that my children and I call home. For now.