Riding home in the car last night, I watched wonder dance across the features of my two-year-old granddaughter, Rosabelle. She stared out the window watching the trees go by, her eyes darting back and forth in search of the main source of her delight. I didn’t need to look to see when the moon had come into view: it was painted across her little face, her eyes moon-full and her smile reacting to every glimpse of the big white orb.
I reflected back over our day that had started a bit earlier than I usually like to be up and about, how my family and I had risen early to prepare for our annual family reunion at a local state park. My spirit flagged as I thought of family members who had called to say they weren’t coming. With the economy hitting hard, it was the first time I remember fearing there would be few in attendance.
It had been a long day and I was beyond tired, my feet aching and my mind pressed with a sudden awareness of my age. Resting my head against the car seat, I closed my eyes and breathed in the blessings of the day. And there had been many.
It was the first reunion I can remember where no one seemed to be in a hurry to leave. It was the most relaxed reunion atmosphere in memory for me, and amid the traditional abundance of amazing food and the new corn hole tournament we had arranged, the day flowed with conversation, memory-sharing, and many photos snapped. Our number was fewer than usual, but our day was filled with laughter and sharing and even a few reminiscent tears.
Belle had stolen hearts all over the recreation hall as she chased her Auntie Rosie and laughed with young McKenzie and played peek-a-boo through the glass door with cousin Jimmy and placed soft little kisses on Uncle Sheff’s cheek. I wondered if she was remembering the joys of the day just as they were playing across my own memory.
Once again, I was reminded of the way gratitude softens our hearts, allows us to live fully in the moment. A conversation with my Aunt Jackie floated back across my thoughts, in which I had encouraged her to read Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. It may have been the millionth time I recommended the book, but I doubt I will ever stop mentioning the way it impacted me—and still does.
Breathing in the crisp breeze from the car windows, I watched Belle’s eyes shine the wonder of moon-glimpsing and slowly grow less and less wide until they fluttered closed. Her smile remained, all filled with delight at God’s gifts and depicting perfectly what I was feeling: A happiness that can only be hinted at by words, and can really only be captured by something as big as a full moon dancing in little girl eyes.
I pray I always look at life with eyes like hers.
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