They pose by the gate, laughing and waiting. Bouncing.
He yells. "On your mark! Get set! Go!"
They take off and Reese is left in the dust before they even begin ... those little legs.
It's a perfect day and the leaves are perfectly crunchy. The ground is dry and why not make an obstacle course? Cara is serious and she has already planned her route. Her strategy.
Reese ... not so much. But the boots are key. She really wants to wear the boots.
Cara is focused, precise ... way ahead.
For Reese, this is all about the moment. She is going for the total experience and I have to laugh hard when she finally kicks her ball into the goal and we scream, cheer for her to catch up with sis. But she goes back again, hand rolls each ball into just the right position. She is still on the first of five stations and she is thrilled.
She calls for help on the balance beam. Takes her time, watches her feet. Doesn't even notice her competition. She is making her own way.
When she finally makes it to the midpoint, her only requirement is to fill the bag. A few handfuls should do it. The pile is enormous and the bag is small. Cara is finished already... up the slide. Down.
And Reese stops and calls me. "Mama! Here, for you! This one! You will love this one!"
She is holding up a leaf.
"Mama, come take this one too! You will love it."
She finds another. Red and orange. And another.
Cara is back at the gate now, ready to go again but Reese has changed the game. She is searching now, through the pile, pushing leaves aside and digging for color. Collecting them all, for me.
And this is a sweet mama moment. She knows me. She has watched me bend and pick leaves from the ground for weeks. Years. They fall out of my purse, go through the wash. I stuff them between pages of books and this has been the rhythm of every fall.
She knows what thrills this simple heart and, perhaps she is learning ... if only in the smallest way.
The full color in the moment. God in everything, everywhere. Wonder.
Grace in the obstacle. Is it always there? Can we learn to see it?
That evening, our home is off. We forget grace. We argue and I worry. I lose my cool. We contort our faces when we look at the bank account. We don't feel well and family is tricky and there is always something new on the horizon.
Life has obstacles.