One of my most favorite memories from when my older two kids were about 5 and 3, back in 2005, is not one that is captured by picture or video. It was in the fall, as the Monarch Butterflies made their way from Canada to Mexico for the winter. This was my favorite time of the year. We lived out in the country at the time and had a front yard full of trees. I can close my eyes and recall the day, and the video that plays in my mind is so much better than anything a camera could capture.
I was sitting on the front porch watching my daughter and son play in the front yard. The sun filtered through the leaves of the trees, creating a beautiful glow around everything. I watched as my children danced around in the yard, twirling in circles with their arms stretched out wide. All around them, hundreds upon hundreds of Monarchs fluttered and danced around with them. Their laughter and joy filled the air and filled my heart.
Now, the memory fills my soul.
Perhaps time has altered the memory, softened the edges of the chaos that surrounded us at the time. When I close my eyes, I no longer feel the rickety porch beneath my backside. That old rental house that should have been condemned isn’t quite as bad as it really was. Even the rusty old Buick doesn’t seem so bad. That’s okay. It was a moment of perfect bliss.
Peaceful in the midst of depression and anxiety over our future.
If this precious scene were in a movie, I imagine it would be done in slow motion with the echoing sounds of children’s laughter dubbed over.
We have moved on from those hard times. My then 5 year old daughter is a 14 year old freshman in high school. Her 3 year old brother is 11 and started the 6th grade this year. So much has changed in the years since that perfect fall afternoon. There is a 6 year old precocious boy added to the mix now. We’ve moved to a whole new city, and life has gotten a little bit easier and harder all at the same time. We face new challenges, but the depression and anxiety have abated. They have given way to a new faith that, even when things get a little bit hard, the Lord will guide us through. I’ve given myself permission to breathe and enjoy the moment, soak in the joy and not worry so much about things that are way beyond my control.
Maybe, this fall, we’ll take the kids on a road trip one weekend to seek out the Monarchs, and we’ll finally be able to capture a new memory on camera. It won’t compare to that perfect moment so many years ago, but it would be perfect in its own right.