The One with the Lights

I had a hard time bidding last year a tear free adieu. And by hard time, I mean I blubbered like a baby. Let's face it. Little Miss 2011 was overwhelmingly good to me. My Zuzu girl turned a bright eyed, suddenly her opinion matters, two years old. We met Miss Viola Honey. And after some trial and oh so much error, the four of us have figured out how to live rather prettily together. I am a little* (*overwhelming, to the point that it is no longer cute, quirky or desirable in any setting or circumstance) superstitious. It is hard to imagine that 365 days of so much light and warmth and general fuzziwuzziness can be followed by more of the same. Surely, this year will be, has to be, comprised of all the rain clouds that didn't darken last years bright sky. (The Clouds versus Sun cliche? You should read the descriptions that didn't make the cut...)

Last night we were on our way home from my parents house and I was thoughtful. Full of a little girl that is almost not two, with the things that we hoped this time last year, the ones we made happen, the ones I let slip. I could hear my little Viola breathing her no longer newborn breaths. Riley and I a little older. And I knew that the year, while abundant and lovely, had taken nearly as much as it had given.  Riley must have sensed the mood. (Me, crying while staring out the window may have been the first clue.) He got off the freeway at our exit and turned right back around.

Where are you going?

To the house. The one with the lights.

There is a house off the freeway that just sings magic at Christmas. The trees around it are absolutely frosted with lights. Every year I see it from the freeway and every year we are going to go see it. And then we just...don't. Always driving home too late, or too early. Or the kids are crying. Or the next night just seems like a better time. And the lights stay on all season and we never get closer than a glance while going 65 on the freeway.

We pulled up next to it and heavens, it was nearly as magical as I thought it would be. (High praise from this girl.) Margaret's breath caught and she shouted OH MOMMY, DADDY! LOOK! OH IT'S BEAUTIFUL. OH MY GOODNESS! OH MY GOODNESS!

Oh my goodness. It was beautiful.

Riley drove by oh so slowly and then pulled away. Margaret started to cry.


I wanted to tell her I understood. It would be lovely to stand under those lights. It would be perfect to stop and touch and hold close everything pretty and shining and bright. Only going down the road again, if and when, we wanted to. I wanted to tell her about every moment with her and Viola and her daddy that I have loved. That there are some I wish I could hold in my hand, carry in my pocket. That they float away as quickly as you can catch them.

Instead, I reached over and squeezed her leg.

I know, honey. They were beautiful. We will see them again next year.

I promise.