Taking cover

Ever since she unwrapped her very own Hello Kitty umbrella from Nana and Papa, she's been asking me about the forecast. "It might rain tomorrow, right? Well, can you just check your phone again, just in case?"

This morning, she insisted on riding the bus. She insisted on bringing her umbrella. Her brother wasn't ready when the bus came, so I drove him, arriving at the same time as the bus. I watched from several yards away as my little girl stepped off the bus, not a drop of rain in the sky. I watched her struggle to open up her umbrella. When she finally, proudly unfurled her newest accessory, you couldn't miss her wide smile from a mile away.

I saw her strut toward the school doors, umbrella twirling. I was too far away to see for sure; but it seemed as if when she passed the police officer--the man in blue who's been greeting the children at the front entrance since Monday--it seemed like he tipped his hat to the little girl with the wide smile and the pink umbrella.

I was grateful to see him there, comforted even. Whether it does anything to deter the danger, I don't know. We still control so very little of our days and of what might fall from the sky.

But sometimes, it feels good to take cover, even when the rain isn't falling.



She skips nearly everywhere she goes. This particular time it's to the fridge and back.

"See Mama, I'll show you. Here's my schedule. NO gym on Tuesdays. So see! I can wear my fancy shoes and fancy dress tomorrow for my birthday!"

Still skipping, now waving the yellow paper. It's only a few yards, a few seconds, but it's enough for me to choke back tears.

"C'mere, Darlin'. Give me a hug. I can't believe you're gonna be SIX!"
"Well, I can't believe you're gonna be 88!"
She waves her magic words, abracadabra, turning watery eyes into belly laughs.
"I'm not that old, silly goose!"

I hug her, probably too tightly. I read too much detail today, saw too many faces that looked far too much like hers. And I don't know whether I want to sob with grief because those children are gone or cry with gratitude because mine isn't.

So I do both.

Six years old is a delightful, beautiful, sound-out-chapter-books and skip everywhere age.
Six years old is believing in Santa, bossing the dog around and buttering your own toast (or at least making a valiant effort).
Six years old is knowing exactly which tights you want to wear, but maybe still needing just a little help to put them on.
Six years old is hands cupped over mouth in excitement, hands on hips in defiance, hands laced in mama's when the path feels momentarily too big to tread alone.

Six years old is where I find most of what's right with the world.

My little monkey is six. 

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