Unbridled Joy (2008)

Tonight I sit, the silence of the humid air around me is punctuated by the occasional song of a cricket. The early morning stillness hangs heavy in the unmoving air. I’ve retreated to our front stoop with my laptop, probably not the safest place to be with a lurking thunderhead swirling above, yet I retreat here to reflect… to meditate.The yard in front of me is dark and quiet, a stark contrast to the peals of laughter and the glow of late afternoon that only days before, brought me here, watching my children play.

It was here we sat, with Colette in my lap, as we watched Shepherd run to the Oak tree and back, his joyous laughter bouncing off the mellow light that kissed our faces. It was here that I was beckoned by Shepherd to “come play” and could not refuse such an appeal. From here, I stood up, Colette in my arms, and gleefully ran through the grass, galloping, as only Colette finds exceedingly hilarious. The sound of her laughs enveloped my heart and drew the child in me to a place where I’d long forgotten. It drew me to my knees, and we knelt in the grass beside the clover.

Shepherd ran up to us, and thrust his fist full of grass, weeds, and a few clover blooms into my face and proclaimed, “Flowers! Mommy!!!” I thanked him for the gift, for only Queens deserve such royal and lavish things. Each fistful brought new blooms, which I added to the growing links of clover in my hand.

The child in me danced and laughed as I imagined the crown of clover complete and resting upon the heads of my darling children. With the first crown complete, we crowned Princess Colette. Shepherd and I laughed and admired her beautiful jewels. Shepherd, upon realization that he lacked a crown, demanded a coronation ceremony for himself. As I completed his crown, and placed it upon his royal brow, he beamed at me, and announced, “Crown for Mommy!”

Soon enough, we all had crowns, and we sat in the shade of the Oak tree, reveling in the glow of the afternoon, the dust and pollen dancing in the light as if pixies or tiny fairies celebrating the royal gathering. “Dance!” Shepherd belted as he threw his arms in the air and wiggled his entire body with unrepentant jubilee. Colette squeeled with delight as she brought her hands together and clapped at the air. Yet I remained silent and still… frozen in place, absorbing every detail of the unfolding celebration around me. “Dance, Mommy!” he beckoned again.

A smile slowly spread across my face… “I am” I replied, sitting quietly beside the two of them, whose reckless gyrations and uncoordinated waves drew attention to my stillness. “I am…”

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