On Sunday both Rachel and M.E. were napping and under the watchful care of Papa and Gaba. I looked outside my parents’ big windows at the brilliant blue sky dappled with just a few fleeced clouds and the lake water sparkling with sunshine. It was a day that begged for me to be outdoors.
“Madeline, do you want to go on a walk with me?”
Of course she did.
So my oldest daughter and I set outside. We brought only a bottle of water, a ball, and good conversation with us. We walked, pausing to notice the squirrel scampering up a tree and the glints of silvery mica on the ground.
Madeline started to skip along the gravel path. “Skip with me,” she said.
So I did. And it felt good to skip and to smile beside my little girl.
When we were approaching the water’s edge, Madeline said, “Mommy, let’s just go sit by the water and gaze at it. That’s a good idea, isn’t it?”
We found a fallen log and sat on it. She tossed some pine cones in the water. We watched a family of mallard ducks glide across the glassy surface of the lake. And we gazed. Together. Just the two of us with no toddler or baby pining for my or big sister’s attention.
The lake was beautiful but not as beautiful as the girl beside me. I noticed the way the fall sunshine painted her hair a honey hue and the way her cheeks were rosy from her skipping. When she noticed me gazing at her and not the water, she smiled, her big brown eyes bright. I smiled back. I thought, She’s the best scenery of all and she’s in front of me every single day, but I don’t spend as much time gazing at her as I ought to.
“Let’s go, Mommy,” she said, taking my hand in hers.
I followed where she led me, watching her all the way.