The last of the summer sun shone down in patches, coloring the grass like a toddler would with different shades of green crayons. A song rose to the sky as the deep bass lines of the lawnmower blended in harmony with the high soprano parts of children’s laughter. The laughter came from over the fence, hidden from the eyes of grown ups, there was no need for them there. With a sand box and swing set and shoes off their feet, they had everything they needed for a perfect eve.
I didn’t need to be there. Though the guilt that I fear sometimes wrings its hands ’round my neck and convinces me that I will be to blame for all their problems when they’re grown. It’s foolhardy to think that their happiness depends on me. I’m mowing the grass in the next yard over and they are reveling in the delights that childhood brings. So I quiet the voices long enough to hear their tiny hearts sing and my own heart swells to the song that is sung. Without words, I am there with them, and I sing along.
Later that night though we enjoy bath time and tea. Before pretending to bite their little feet while they squirm away with glee.
The hum of the lawn mower has long since faded and is replaced by the quiet of the fan in the room. We lay there, our faces a shade of pink from her nightlight, and I listen as her breathing gets loud before softening. I was there beside her for this.
Just as I had been a half hour before at Pax’s bedside, watching his boyish grin beam from under the covers. He puckered his lips for a second kiss, and I welcomed it gladly since for once he was not demanding his mommy. I was there with him for this.
And I knew the whole evening they had both been happy. It wasn’t up to me. Not at all. They don’t need me beside them every step of the way! It’s freeing and fulfilling. Tonight I don’t find the bitter mixed with sweet. I’m only savoring the beauty of childhood they see.