They are having a candlelight vigil down at the high school tonight but you don’t want to go so we hold one of our own. On the second day of February when that old groundhog sees his shadow we go looking for our smiles.
We’ll call it the walk until the sun goes down vigil, I tell my two growing boys. You leave your trig homework and Jeffrey leaves his drawing and Lucy Mae is waiting by the door.
I’ve seen your eyes these past couple days. I’ve felt the weight of the heavy in your breathing. And when you need a smile, why don’t you go down and hop the creek?
Because sometimes the only cure is to step outside—step outside of you and me and focus on stepping wide.
Why don’t you stare long into those muddy waters and startle three ducks out of hiding? Why don’t you walk in the marsh and get your school shoes all muddy—hold back the greenbriers so I can follow you?
We’ll play hopscotch across, land careful on each glistening rock that sleeps in this sandy bed. And I won’t care if you slip and the water seeps up the leg of those pants. I won’t care if that brier rips a tiny hole in your shirt. Lucy will need to go straight to the wash but for now…we are smiling wide.
I’ll pick the burrs off your jacket, wipe my muddy hands on my knees and breathe deep the smell of fallen rain running thick through this muddy channel.
Your brother will take a short-cut because he can jump the creek better than us. And on the way home, as the vigil is coming to a close—as the sun begins to dip below those hills on the horizon…I'l tell you how loved you are. And you'll grin crooked and tell me I talk too much, but you know what this is all about. And I'll tell you this: Never forget how loved you are. Let every choice you make be made knowing how loved you are.