“Mommy, is it still nighttime?”
Walking outside, with the moon still visible in the lightening sky, my curious girl asks this question just before she stumbles from the curb to pavement. The loud vibrating noise of her school bus incites an urgency to hurry that her legs don’t catch up to…and usually that’s when my breath catches.
But today, she recovers before the stumble turns into scraped knees, a headache, a doctor’s visit. Abby, being Abby, barely notices this hiccup as she speeds up her uneven stride towards the bus and her day.
“No baby,” I answer. “It looks like it’s dark, but the sky is getting lighter because it’s morning. It’ll get lighter and lighter as you ride to school.”
She’s right to ask. It’s still dark and she sees the moon. Yet she knows it’s morning because her Mommy said so and she accepts that like an apple is red, the stove is hot and a kiss fixes boo boos.
Abby pauses to pass me her backpack so she’s hands free and uses them to start waving to her bus driver.
Me…I’m carrying a sleepy, pacifiered Henry, a slice of buttered toast on a paper towel (her go-to bus breakfast), a purple sipper cup and her backpack.
It takes Abby, her bus driver and my only free appendage, my leg, to get her climbed up on that first high step. She’s already chatting and giggling. With each step, she pulls herself on the rail with the guidance of her favorite morning driver until she’s up. She pauses to survey the empty bus and picks just the right seat for this morning. Today, it’s two seats back opposite the bus driver. As she climbs in, I pass her backpack, toast and sweet tea (we’re in Virginia, y’all). I wish everyone a good day, then back away a few steps.
Standing in the parking lot outside our home of only the past three months, I am fully aware of her joy.
I can’t see much of my four-year-old through the tinted windows but her bow. It bounces and turns side to side when she talks, and as her driver shuts the door and puts on her own seat belt, I can see that perky bow turn to the window for one last glance at me.
I blow big kisses and can picture her smile, yet I can’t quite see it. I bounce Henry on my hip so it looks like he’s saying goodbye, too. I’m pretty sure there’s a small smile starting behind his red and blue plug.
…weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5
I wasn’t sure about this bus thing. It ended up being my only option to get everyone to school on time. All the proverbial windows and doors closed, and this was it. The option. It’s funny how God works things out like that. Sometimes, your only option IS your only option because it’s necessary and part of His ultimate plan. Even if it doesn’t seem like that at the time. Or for a long time.
Or maybe even yet.
Abby and her bow…they’re just so hopeful. Ready. Excited. Undaunted. Somehow my precious girl, even though it’s still semi-dark, has all the sunshine she needs to start the day. It beams from her eyes and radiates in her smile. In her almost five years on this Earth, she’s been handed one unwanted, unjustifiable hand after another. Born 16 weeks early. Brain damage. Cerebral palsy. Surgeries. Glasses. Specialists. Balance and coordination issues. Two brothers.
And then there’s been the last six months. So many unexpected changes to her body. The brain surgery we didn’t want to have. Moving. New place, new room, new city. Mommy and Daddy not being together anymore.
Do you see it yet?
She chooses happiness. She chooses to trust the sun is coming out soon. She chooses to love, because she is loved.
From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised. Psalm 113:3
All I have to do is look to the past to see God’s steadfast presence in my life and in my children’s. He turns night into day. Dark into light. Pain into joy. Failure into success. Death into life.
All I have to do when I forget is recognize His beauty and strength in my little girl, the teacher of my yets.