Last night the moon resembled the illustration in the nursery book, Goodnight Moon. When Taylor was very young, we would read that book every night and then she and I would take a walk into the front yard of our Midwest City home. We would say goodnight to the tree, and the grass and the flowers. With each object, she would reach out her small hand to pat or touch it. Soon we would look up to the sky and say, “Goodnight stars, goodnight moon” and she would reach and pull away from me as if she could pat the moon or touch a star. That girl loved to pull away from me, her independence leading her toward adventure.
When her efforts failed, Taylor would ease back into my torso. Her eyes would grow wide as her little bow mouth allowed her lips to make a giant O. She would take her hands and place them on my cheeks before burying her head in my neck. As she grew, she began to point to other objects and would not be satisfied until we had named each and said good night. Once the world was put to bed, Taylor insisted on being rocked in her daddy's hunter green lazy-boy chair. She would fight sleep playing with my hair or my mouth or her toes. I would sing and rock and whisper in her ear, "You are amazing and there is nothing you cannot do." Her eyes would open briefly, while her little mouth tried to defy the sleep that called to her. My nose would rub her nose just before I laid her down while my heart said a grateful prayer. Finally, I whispered right next to her baby ear, "Your mama loves you baby girl." and kissed her forehead.
These are the memories that sit with me when the day has been too loud and the space without my girl too quiet. I watch the movie of the two of us walking in that yard, saying goodnight to a world we trusted and rocking in an old green lazy boy.
I see us.