My only son lives here in town within miles of our home. He comes by whenever he has his daughters and we get to spend time with all three of them. Tonight he invited us to his house for a fire pit and some moonlight reading.
The fire was blazing when we got there and the girls were anxious to show off a bench the three of them had built that day. The marshmallows were doled out and promptly eaten. Games of tag and coral the horse were played and then it was time to get down to business.
I heard the wind blowing through the trees all around us. I watched as embers blew with the breeze above the faces so intent on the words their daddy was reading.
Their bellies were full of a good dinner and sweet roasted goodness. But their souls and mine were being fed by firelight and the music was the cadence of their daddy's voice. I saw my son in his fatherly role and was at peace taking in the scene before me. He makes the most of every moment he has with them and he makes their time one of learning and love. He made a book to be used for pressing flowers that the three of them find on their adventures. A catalog of memories they all share.
Sometimes he wakes them early enough to catch the sunrise across an open field and he encourages them to chase lightening bugs at sunset and sit on the porch to watch a thunderstorm roll in.
Tonight was not a special night. In fact, it is a school night. But instead of the frenetic energy of getting preparations ready for tomorrow, he took the time to quiet them with fresh air, a building project they can be proud of and the simplicity of a story being read around a fire. My husband and I count ourselves blessed to have sat at the fire tonight and watched their story being written. And there were times when I felt the extended family that have gone before us watching and approving from the shadows.
When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses.