I signed in to a new social network online yesterday which had been highly recommended by women I know. It was indeed every bit as lovely as promised. I was tired, through and through, and could not bring myself to dig into the number of things in need of my attention. So with a few clicks I found myself there. I filled out my profile, visited a few delightful pages, and slowly sank deeper into the lethargy and exhaustion that was overtaking me.
As I waited for a new page to load I turned and looked out the window. I saw little faces between me and the door, some looking as cranky as my own. Silently I reached for shoes and camera, put the tv remote out of reach and the computer on sleep. The children and I made our way outside, football in tow and I forced myself to wake up. To notice.
The sky was a startling blue, punctuated with white clouds which brought us rain earlier and would bring more as the day wore on. Right then, we were in a pocket of sunshine.
So I alternately threw the football to the boys and a plush babysized ball to Abbie. Between passes a boy etched this into the wet ground:
Little boy found a ladybug and coaxed it onto his finger. As it took flight I snapped a couple more pictures.
I asked him to say something, since that usually prevents that frozen posed smile. He began to recite a prayer from his bedtime books, "Dear God, I love you," he said sweetly in a tiny voice. I stood rooted to the ground, stunned by his spontaneous prayer.
Dear God, I love you too. And I almost missed this.
Daughter was behind us. She had picked up a stick and slowly drew it through the puddles. Tess found her own stick and joined her, which naturally caught the attention of mud hungry little boys.
There were more sticks and more puddles and eventually someone 'accidentally' stepped into the water. I thought about the cleaning. I thought about the laundry. There would be more of both. But there would not be many more puddles, in this place, with these children.
So we stayed. I smiled. They splashed. They chased each other around the barn with war-painted faces, hurling handfuls mud and whooping with glee.
Dear God, I love you, and I love this beautiful mess I'm in.
Laughter rang out through chattering teeth as the sun was swallowed up by the clouds moving in. Eventually there were showers and piles of towels and wilting dandelions to pull from wayward ponytails.
So, that is how I missed my networking. Or maybe I didn't. Instead I wallowed in muddy splendor and a little boy uttered quiet praise and woke me up.
Dear God, I love you.