In the late morning, we go outside. The yard is covered in leaves so thick that June and I must kick them with our feet to see the grass beneath. In the wake of our play a river of green emerges, pulling back brown and golden leaves to remind us of the changing season. In the back of my head I can hear my mother warning me, play outside while you can, soon the weather will be too cold for morning walks. And so, I keep June Bea outside a little longer than I normally would, letting our adventure seep over into our lunchtime.
From where I sit in the yard, I see June stop to grab a stick. Without warning, a new wind blows the leaves from the tree beside, sending the masses falling at her feet. Looking up, she sees the autumn’s ballet dance of deadened leaves and laughs out loud. “Wow,” her newest expression, escapes from her mouth and lands on my ears across the yard. I grab my phone to record her curiosity. Her world is filled with great mystery and for the moment, I am here to just watch.
As I have said before, parenting has taught me to pause and admire the beauty of the simple moments: steam from a pot on the stove, a cat walking across our yard during breakfast, a red leaf among brown, the crunch of an acorn beneath my feet. I hope that long after June has grown, I will still choose to look around at these fleeting moments. They are the small sentences that bring meaning to my chapters and I wish to remember them all.
We make our way up the sidewalk and into the house. I close the front door and make my way to the kitchen with June, whining behind me. Perhaps I waited too long to begin lunch today, but at least our hunger is earned from joy. Sean comes down the stairs and snaffles June up into his arms, making her laugh and for the moment she forgets completely about lunch. I am just as mesmerized by the moment, stopping myself from my meal-making to watch them. Returning to cold leftovers, I put them in the microwave and carry on with my task, smiling. There is joy, there is joy, there is joy all around us, if only we stop to see.