I watched her run up the hill that she called a mountain and I felt a smile stretch across my face, the one that seems reserved only for her, and once she reached the top I told her to be careful even though I knew she would be. I fought the urge to ask her to sit beside me, to not jump, to not touch things, to not run as quickly or backwards or too far and I fought the urge to wrap my arms around her in a parental bubble to keep her safe from everything.
Instead I found the little boy within, the inner child I buried somewhere along the way to allow the adult to shine through, and I ran with her. I jumped and picked tiny purple flowers among the weeds, sticking them in her hair as we went and I ran slower to match her pace and backwards to make her laugh and far just for the chase. Once we caught each other, I wrapped my arms around her anyway breathing in the smell of her soap and the grass and the faint fragrance of the baby that once was buried somewhere underneath.
We collapsed beside each other and she watched me thread my fingers behind my head then she did the same with her own -- with our elbows pointed out we looked at the clouds picking out shapes and animals as they passed overhead. She narrated stories linking them all together and I hung onto every word she gave me because I want her to know I’m always available to listen. Sure there were a million other things I could be doing, but honestly none of them were more important; I’m not sure they ever will be… not anymore.
I’m learning more than ever to stop saying no, to stop worrying, to stop standing in my own way. Sometimes we just need to say yes, to let go, to feel the grass under us and see the clouds above us and let the world spin around us. Sometimes we need to stop parenting, to stop being adults, to stop carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders for just a minute in effort to soak in our surroundings, to gain an appreciation for it all so when we pick it back up again we know why we’re carrying it in the first place.