“Here it comes,” said my daughter pointing to the faint glow on the horizon. Blue sky surrendered to black and still we’d seen no moon.
I expected to see the moon 20 minutes ago. That was the problem for my son. His 15 year old self had turned 4 again and he was banging around the mountainside throwing rocks, sticks and otherwise crashing and bashing. Evidence of boy boredom.
When my son asked me that afternoon if I wanted to go antler shed hunting I was eager to agree. A nice hike seeking boy treasure just in time to spot the rising moon sounded perfect. Except, on the mountain, the moon was now late.
My son has no patience once the game ends.
His sister, just home from college, and eager to have a brother again, picked up branches and sword fought with him. Shards of sticks flew through the air. I challenged him to heave big rocks over the dirt road where we’d hiked. 15 year old boys do damage when they throw and I wanted to protect my head.
Our friends were with us. Tom had time to ride his ATV to the next valley and watch to moon rise there. Mike stayed and bravely flinched as boulders flew through the air. Still it only glowed where we wanted the moon.
It was getting cold.
Everyone was hungry.
Even the dog was asking to go home.
This is parenting. Sometimes it’s about waiting. I knew my altared space was the super moon this night. But it’s not about the moon, it’s about sharing it with my friends and family so I needed to find what is fun about this dark, cold, hungry moment.
When my boy was little I carried little green frogs in my purse my sister-in-law had given me. They jumped when you pressed on them. These frogs as well as a deck of cards were lifesavers during the many waiting moments of parenting.
At restaurants before the food came we’d jump frogs across the table or play a round of cards. In the doctor’s office we kept boredom at bay by pulling the party from out of my purse and recruiting other kids to play.
Life is moments punctuated by long pauses of waiting, waiting, waiting staring at the glow of anticipation.
We laughed at my son’s Scottish Highland Games in the dark. We dared him to rip up burnt trees. “Run to that tree and heave this dead branch as far as you can.” Childhood stories bubbled up from the dark of stillness while we stomped our feet to shake off the chilly night air as our sweatshirts felt thinner by the minute.
The moon began to rise.
That’s when the waiting was over and my daughter climbed on her brother’s shoulders and put the moon in her hands.
What stories do you tell in the glow of anticipation? How do you keep your child busy when waiting for the moments of your life to arrive? What’s your favorite shadow and light combination?