“But faith is different than love, Mama. Cause you choose love; but it also chooses you. Except with your family, because you have to love them.”
– Katie, age seven – Philosopher, Sage, Love of my life, Rising Second Grader – discussing faith, love and the power of choice en route to our Mama/ Katie dinner date
Katie and I enjoyed a wonderful date night on Friday. Her figure skating instructor had decided that it was time to take the plunge into some ‘real’ skates (meaning the twenty dollar “I’m not at all convinced that this ice skating thing is anything more than a lark” skates from Dick’s Sporting Goods just weren’t cutting it anymore). So we decided to head out on Friday after work and make an evening of it, including a special dinner afterward.
Despite the fact that it was pouring rain and that we were headed out to try on ice skates, Katie insisted on choosing an upscale, very grown-up restaurant, wearing a dress, and scrunching up her nose at Mama’s jeans. C’mon, now. It’s not that bad. They were dark, going out kinda jeans. I wore heels. It’s Friday night, people. There’s only so much I can do.
She’s a delightful little date. She dove into a soft shelled crab (Ooooh, I looooove it, Mama!). She politely asked if the bartender knew how to “do” a Shirley Temple. And she very nicely asked the waiter for a light when she ‘accidentally’ blew out the candle at the table.
Thoroughly enjoying a few precious moments of one another’s undivided attention would have been more than enough, but there was a surprise in store for both of us.
The rain let up while we were in the restaurant and the late evening sun began to reemerge. As a number of people began to stand up and peek out the windows, the maitre d’ came over to our table and told us that we just had to walk outside.
When we did, we were awe struck by the presence of an unbelievable rainbow. It was HUGE and it dominated the sky with its overwhelming beauty.
It was amazing standing on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant with a group of strangers all looking skyward. I held Katie in front of me and was overcome by the moment. One of the men in the crowd pointed toward the ‘end’ of the rainbow and told Katie, “Right down there – that’s where the pot of gold is.” I hugged her a little tighter and told him, “Nope, the pot of gold’s right here.”
As we took our seats, I was struck by the thought that every once in a while it takes someone else – sometimes a complete stranger – to show us the miracles that are right in front of us. We would have had a lovely dinner, but we also would have missed all that beauty had it not been for someone who took the time to tap us on the shoulder.
Yesterday we spent the day with my dear girlfriends from our former life in Connecticut. It was a joyous day filled with love and laughter as our families reconnected. One of the ladies told us about her friend whose six week old baby had just passed away. Her friend, she told us, had said, “We were so blessed to have had forty seven glorious days.”
Every one of us in my girlfriend’s kitchen steadied ourselves. There but for the grace of God go I.
And then we all went home and each had the incredible privilege later that night of tucking our babies into bed, but this time with a poignant awareness that we had just been blessed with yet another glorious day, thankfully among far too many others to count. It took the grace of a stranger in her time of unthinkable tragedy to remind us that our children’s very lives (and our fragile places in them) are nothing short of miraculous.
Rainbows are everywhere, and sometimes, like objects in the rear view mirror, the pots of gold are much closer than they appear.
But we don’t always see them without a little help.