>We missed it…or did we?

>While checking the headlines on the Internet a couple of days ago, I read about an amazing meteor shower that was to take place. The day went on, kids, housework, my battle with not writing any more on my new book, dinner, etc. At about 8:00 that night when the boys were out and all was quiet, I remembered the meteor shower and jumped to my feet, urging my daughter to come outside with me.

“Look for shooting stars!” I urged her.

After craning our necks for a few seconds, we decided to lay down on the deck and look straight up into the sky. It was a cloudless night and the sky twinkled like bright diamonds. We started to shiver from the November cold.

Through chattered teeth, my daughter pointed to a blinking light. “Is that one?” It was a plane…rats.

“Keep looking,” I said.

“I’ve never seen one, you know,” she said. “I don’t know what to look for.”

Imagine your heart hurting a little bit, like when you see an injured bird; that’s how I felt. How had she not seen a shooting star yet? I explained what they looked like, but inside, a rush of memories flooded me from my childhood: sleepovers outside; summer evenings spent laying on the cracked sidewalks looking at the stars. Had we forgotten to do this? Had the business of life in the 2000’s crept into our house, too. Of course it had. However, in my defense, to be out in the dark, lying down, unprotected in mountain lion and coyote country is a bit unwise.

We waited a while longer, then shrugged and agreed that we were freezing. “I guess we missed it,” my daughter said.

I was awake for most of that night. For some writers, it’s when thoughts swirl the best. I really wanted her to see a shooting star. Why hadn’t it happen?And then I realized, something magical did happen: we got quiet, held hands, and looked up. It seems like such a small thing, but it felt very cosmic…very “hand of God” to have stopped our evening routine of television viewing, and to journey out into the cold, look up into space, and marvel at the sky. Ahhh…so beautiful.

The next morning when I stepped out onto the deck to fill the bird feeder, I looked for some evidence that we’d been there. An impression…a sock…a hair clip. Nothing. Then a smile grew inside, crawling across my face. I realized that special moments with my kids takes little work or energy, a little spontaneity, but a great deal of presence. Be careful, I thought (and not for the first time), or you might miss it!

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