School messed us all up, making us believe summer was an endless dance in sprinklers and midnight stars. Now I'm back from a perfect, perfect, perfect vacation, and my to-do list is shouting from my computer bag way upstairs.
Then she crawled on top of me, craned her arms behind her head and stared at the same blue sky.
"The sun makes me happy, mama," she said.
"The queenie (zucchini) makes me happy, mama," she said.
"I like it too, love."
"The beach makes me happy, mama," she smiled.
And then I realized... she was counting.
She's been watching, and listening, and I listen as it continued... the grass, cousins, flowers, blue sky. She counted the blessings while I breathed against the weight of it all.
You know what I'm grateful for?
Life. The living of it. The passion of it. The waves pushing against my legs, pushing me to the ground. Family with love so big, it feels like a dream. Toes painted orange, digging in sand. Skirts of color and sun. Sheer and light, gentle and soft. Bruised, scraped, and covered with signs of living and doing, jumping in and falling.
I'm back on this picnic table, and everything is quiet. Just one child, not 19. No siblings. Swings not creaking. And I find that when I paused counting, the list continued growing.