Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sledding in Moon Sparkles

There's no mystery I haven't felt like writing. It seems like getting through the days takes all my energy--the job continues to be a huge challenge as I face some pretty serious issues on both sides of the counter. Everyday I am using my brain constantly. Then I come home and focus on Ben with all my energy, and by the time he goes to bed I am usually exhausted. There's a real sadness in me lately too: losses and aging and feeling like I just can't quite get it all done alone.

Tonight, we took Lily out for her after dinner walk about 7:15. There's just enough new snow to pull Ben on the sled while we walk. We walked along the creek for a while when it occured to me that a moonlight sled might be just the ticket for us both. We put Lily in the apartment (you can't do serious sledding in the dark with a dog, what if she ran off?) and trudged over to the Leslie Science Center, a great sledding hill that's usually overpopulated on days when normal parents take their kids. By the time we got there, it was nearly 8:00 pm.

The full moon was high in the sky, shining through the January air with a palpable crispness that only a Michigan winter provides. Stars were everywhere, and from up there you can see the Ann Arbor city lights twinkling at your feet. We were both smiling broadly as we reached the summit.

I thought Ben might hesitate, in the dark, but he said "My turn first, Momma," hopped on the plastic sled and zoomed down the dark hill. The moon was so bright I had no trouble seeing him reach the end of his run. He jumped off to pull the sled back up.

When he got up to the top, I said, "Was it fun?" His enthusiastic yes was followed by instructions.

"I want to do it over here," he said, pointing to a bit steeper incline. Off again he went, even faster. A three year old, at night, on a deserted hill, having a great ride. When he came up next, he said, "You slide with me this time, Momma?"

I was unable to resist, and we streaked down the hill with my added poundage. He tightened his grip around my legs. We fell off at the bottom laughing. As we got up, I pointed out the moon, the stars, the city. "And the moon sparkles!" added Ben, pointing his snow-packed-wool -mittened- hand at the diamond flaked snow.

Moon sparkles.

The kid's a poet. One of his first five words was "moon," and he's always had a passion for her.

He begged for one more slide, "Please, please, please," his magnificent white smile looking up into my face. One more, then he was ready to head home for hot chocolate. As we trudged down to the corner, he looked up at the moon.

"Thank you, Moon, for watching us sledding."

All the damage of the day, all the difficult transitions, all the losses of age, all the aches of my feet, all the trying moments of truly single parenting, melt away again. How could I have lived without this experience? Thank you, Moon, indeed, for your sparkles, your watching, your light and for my son who will be four in less than a week.

Thank you, Ben, for Moon Sparkles.

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