Yesterday I could not find my husband. I looked from room to room all around our house, everything was in place. There were signs of him all over, but not him. Finally I headed downstairs, where I noticed the kitchen door was slightly ajar. Walking through it, I found him, sitting in the grass, playing roll the football with our one year old daughter. He was clapping and saying, again and again, “You did it!” To which she responded with her very own brand of dimpled glee and rapid clapping. Her hands, still un-calloused and so small, now come together more often than they miss, with her little clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap. She does this. She applauds herself, her victories, with a personal ovation. She catches the ball, or pushes five notes on the piano, or climbs onto the couch without assistance, and applauds. She grins as her hands turn into hummingbird wings, moving so quickly they blur, and she is found. She looks around the room, and does not stop her own clapping until enough of us have joined her. She is not sated until we are all basking in her accomplishment with her. It is not enough to have noticed, we must meet her there, and enjoy what she has done.
She is so fresh to the earth. So new a miracle, that she makes the mundane seem miraculous. It is as if she shares the newness of her eyes with the rest of us, and we are able, just for a minute, to take off our jaded goggles, smudged with ordinary lives and dreams that never came true, and really see again. We are swept away into the tide of her joy. And we clap, with all we have, as if Tinkerbell’s life really did depend upon it. We believe. We do believe. We believe, again.
Standing on the back porch, I am transfixed. I see them, and try as hard as I can to take it all in. Remember this moment, because someday it will be gone. Babies grow up, and husbands grow old. Life has a way of invading with such force that you forget how green the grass is in your own back yard. So I stand there, a human sponge, soaking all I can. They turn and see me, and their eyes light up even more. The dimples deepen, smiles widen, and I swear to you, that if someone could faint from bliss, I would.
I am happy. Truly happy. Not just because my husband is being the father I dreamed he could be, not just because my children are thriving, not just because my marriage is doing better than it ever has. Of course, those things contribute. But I am really happy. On the Candy Land board of life, I am definitely on a plum square. It’s as if every moment of my life has led up to this sweet spot. Yes, I still have five children between 20 months and 10 years. Yes, I still have to clean a ridiculous amount of messes in the same rooms fifty times a day. I have yet to win the lottery, which may be in part because I do not play. I am still overweight, and under paid. And I’m not completely who I set out to be. But I’m happy.
My husband and I laugh together throughout our days. In the mornings, on the phone, in the evenings, and while lying in bed. We laugh. Right now, life feels like an inside joke that we are sharing with each other. Instead of wounding each other with our words, we fire off witty commentary that makes the other clutch their stomach with giggles. The butterflies have returned. I cannot wait to see him. I can feel every part of his skin on mine when we hold hands, again. We are stronger together than we are apart. And we know it.
The sun is shining. It is the first week of March, and it feels like Spring. This winter has been a reprieve from the kind of cold I am use to experiencing. The grass is growing, and my tulips are finding their way, early, through the thawed ground. I hear my children’s voices, I truly see this man who is my husband, my heart swells, and I realize that what I was looking for has finally been found.