The smallest, she turns three at the beginning of the month, and already she begins to claim she is four.
As though she has absorbed through the air the never ending thrum of the whispers around her, always searching for the next thing, the better thing.
And he, that man of mine, begins classes at a university a state away and I watch him hunch over iPad and notebooks and pencils begin to twirl in his fingers as that brow I love knits in deep concentration. I hear the professor's voice drone on about numbers and I hear his weary laugh and January never slows.
I don't know why I thought it would.
But like a newborn flailing, the days have all blurred together and like a sleep starved new mama I beg for eyes to see above the fog.
Instead, the fog grows heavy.
I have my green chair and he has his, placed in front of the century-old stained glass window and we face each other in the quiet.
He had been stopped after an event at church, had been told some news about one of our children and my blood runs cold and I just want to see through the fog.
Grace, stamped in brass and wrapped around my wrist bumps against my skin and I reach for it with my other hand. There is grace in this too...there has to be.
Jesus, He promised to never leave us...to never forsake us. He gently leads those who are with young and that's me. I don't deserve His promises with my track record, with my history of failings, but I guess that's kind of what grace is.
So, on Sunday, as I am walking around the car to buckle Zee into her seat, as three gun shots are fired into the quiet afternoon air; as I duck down and quietly count heads and reassure wide eyes and ask my fearless husband to maybe not stand so far out into the open, I don't really wonder at my lack of any fear.
It's not bravery that wraps around me, I know this.
There are puppies and geckos as I drop my children off at the home of a friend and as I drive away after hugs and kisses I find myself driving by the second home we lived in here in this town I've grown to love. The one we still own, but that someone else lives in. Our neighbours, the elderly ones, their house has sold and someone younger lives there now. Dino had cancer, last I heard, and that's why their house was on the market. And now they are gone and I'm wondering at how short our lives truly are.
But it's there in the dark, when it's time to drive back to pick up my four, after I slip through the Starbucks to pick up a card to say thank you. It's as I'm looking left and then right before I pull out into traffic that my breath catches in my throat and it's been a long time...almost 5 years and an Alberta horizon...since I've seen a moon that close and full.
Just a glimpse, but I didn't need more, though I chased it down side streets and got lost only once. Just one glimpse for me to feel the full magnitude of what my heart felt Him say.
That moon, full and wide as she was, could only shine the way she did when her whole surface was facing the light of the sun. It was only as shocking as it was because of how dark the sky of night had become.
My soul, parched and broken, clung to this and it was then I felt the fog lift.
Jesus, He is the Light of the World. He has said it and I desperately believe it. And He, who is Light, has, with stunning grace placed His light within me, within all who call on His name and believe. And as I stood in the middle of a dark street with my four children staring at me through foggy windows, I was reminded: The darkness can never overwhelm me with Christ in my life. Oh, it may feel like it - it may press in heavy and hopeless. But the dark only seems darkest when I turn my face away from His glory.
I have known, and I have seen, when my face is turned towards Him, my heart is strengthened, my weakness seems like a gift and His grace is more than just an undeserved gift...it is the very breath and joy of my heart.
The moon, it's already turning away again from the blazing light of the sun...you can see it around the edges.
But my heart, it's begging to face Him, choosing to be set ablaze by the One who tenderly leads and gathers all the little ones close.