Our Keds rest neatly on the seats in front of us. A row of white canvas toes lined up in indisputable youth. We pull our pegged-jean-knees to our chests and wrap our arms around them.
Our hair falls loosely onto our shoulders. We whisper urgently, laugh freely.
My tweed seat leans further back than I expect and just as the lights dim, I start. This breathes new life to our giggles.
Blushing, our teachers walk around the circular auditorium shooshing, hovering, reminding.
Faint Pink Floyd notes surround, and finally silence, us all.
The lights twinkle.
The music envelops.
My friends make this moment sweeter.
I was fifteen years old and had never taken in the night sky, inside or out. My parents and I took many walks, visited numerous gardens, and traveled a staggering amount.
But the sky remained an unexplored mystery to me. A gift that I had no idea needed opening.
Many moons later Jason and I stumble out of bed in the middle of the night. I just finish pulling my hair into a messy ponytail as he laces his fingers with mine. Come on, we need to get going. He pulls me along, rushes me out the bathroom door.
Less than a year together, and I was struck by how anxious he was to be on time, to not miss out. This imaginary post-it note has been endlessly helpful throughout our life together.
We wrap ourselves in thick, gray sweatshirts and GAP jeans. We fill our Starbucks mugs with rich hot chocolate the color of fresh Spring soil, warmly muted by skim milk and whipped cream.
We drive through the night feeling a kismet connection with the few others on the road. Are they looking for an open space, too? Is the meteor shower calling their name, as well?
Finally parked, we gracelessly climb atop our leased Jetta. We sit with a ridiculously thick quilt resting on our knees, hot chocolate warming our hands. My head leans on his shoulder and we breathe in this magic.
Hope and shine and pure and clean and untouched and never-knew-it-could-bes.
Tonight we are hurried. Jason and I, along with our three children, arrive home after an evening of eating too much and staying out too late. We feel the bedtime push and are dangerously close to meltdowns and tears, yells and frustrations.
But when Brody pads onto the driveway and asks, Where’s the moon? from behind his NUK, we pause.
We take in his almost-a-boy stance. His words that ring just right, too big. His titch-too-long bright blond hair falling into his eyes. Neither one of us says no.
And yes, we are the type of parents who too often fall into the traps of Not tonight, Maybe later, This too can wait. But we understand the draw of a night sky, and moments that fleet.
So we trudge through itchy grass into our backyard and step into the sweet spot between the tall trees of the woods and the warm light of our home.
We place Kayli between us; Her head rests against my shoulder. Jason and I each hold another child up high, as high as we can reach. And as a family we look up at the stars, the moon, the magic. We breathe in this moment, this gift. It is opened.