…the high-pitched baby squeals and belly-shaking giggles erupting from the soft pink lips of my sweet niece Anna Darby
… my momma’s chicken salad with juicy grapes on a light, flaky croissant
… fresh summer buzz cuts on two boys’ heads and running my hand repeatedly along their fuzzy tops
… eating pizza off paper plates in the cool dusk of evening, with chlorine-reddened eyes and unisex beach towel skirts
…”What do you want me to do off the diving board this time, Mommy?”
…the baby lotion/little bit of spit-up sweet smell of baby Darby
…four boy cousins breathing deeply after laughing hard together all day, dozing peacefully all together in the big playroom
…snuggling next to my 6 yr old on the hammock; he engrossed in his book and me lazily rocking it side to side with my foot, just breathing and thanking
…sharing funny kid stories, true mom confessions, and our deepest longings for our children with my best friends: my sister Dinah and sister-in-law Stephanie, all while floating aimlessly in the refreshing cool pool
…my parents’ satisfied grins as we, their children, relate all our parenting woes and frustrations
…my husband’s childlike excitement as he tells me of the appearance of the first tomatoes in our garden; an excitement undiminished as they appear year after year
…the soft glow of two flashlights in a blackened room as my two rambunctious boys happily explore books “as long as we want to” after night-time prayers, because it’s “not a school night”
…caring hugs and expressions of love from church “family” at Sherrod Avenue (my parents’ and sister’s church) who love me because they love them
…Dad on the grill
…watching in amazement as my tiniest nephew inhales two grilled hot dogs
…the sweet night-time prayers of four tired boy cousins who can barely keep their eyes open a second longer
…cornhole and Vandy baseball
…pink cheeks and pink noses, sun-kissed and sweet
Happiness is SUMMER.
Happiness is FAMILY.
Happiness is the love of Christ that fills us all to overflowing; that moves in us and among us and around us like a refreshing mist; that colors our world, our lives, our time together in beautiful hues of pink, gold, blue, orange, purple. The love that is a living, breathing being that shimmers like deep blue pool water, that billows like delicious smelling smoke from the grill, that glows like a sun-reddened face. Love caressing our souls as we soak up the precious moments together. Living slowly. Drinking in the moments: the smells, the sights, the sounds, the JOY. The knowledge that He is in all and above all and in control of all, taking care of our every need and pouring out his abundant blessings at every turn.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17
Heavenly Father – I thank you over and over and over again for the perfect gifts that fill my life to overflowing. For buzz cuts, for sunscreen, for baby spit-up, for family. Thank you for being a Father of lights: I revel in the fact that there is no darkness, no shadow of turning, no shifting in you. You are LIGHT, always bright, golden, dazzling light. Let me see it with my heart’s eyes: these gifts floating down: slowly, perfectly, deliberately, from your bright heavenly storehouse, wrapped in light and color, sent specifically to me, your innocent, waiting, expectant, wide-eyed child with arms outstretched, who knows you not only will provide but you will give in abundance. Help me to see that each and every day, Heavenly Father. Thank you and open my eyes to the gifts I know I am still missing, failing to catch as they float to the ground, but You send them anyway because you are my faithful Father.
In the name of Jesus, Amen.