Spring has descended on the Otero Basin. Along with it have come beautiful, 71 degree days and skies of a color taken straight from my son's eyes. Sophie and I are studying the four seasons for her home school right now, and have also been charting each day's weather. Last week when I introduced 'Spring', I told her that in the spring time, it rains a lot so that all the plants can grow. She promptly answered with firm conviction, "No it does not." Then ran to the weather chart where it showed 'sun', 'sun', 'sun', right in a row down the week. How can you argue with an objective, scientific analysis of all the facts?
Yesterday when Scott got home we all four went on a walk. There is a jogging trail at the end of our street that winds through the desert, right up to the foothills of the Sacramento mountains. We went there, enjoying the mild evening and sudden fragrant bursts of sage and mesquite. Xander kept stopping every few yards to pick up rocks and throw them on the path. Which of course necessitated our stopping every few yards to direct him to throw them back off the path. Let me remind you we live in a desert. Which has a lot of rocks.
Sophie tripped along in her own little world, coming out of it occasionally to tell us a story, or tattle on her brother.
Side note on tattling: The other day Xander was dropping books on the floor, and I said, "Pick up the books, little dinosaur." (Ever read Jane Yolen's dinosaur books? Great for little boys' behavior management).
Immediately Sophie said, "Mom, Xander dropped his books on the floor."
"Sophie, you're not the mommy. Let me take care of it."
Sophie started singing, "Little diiiinosaurs are naaaaughty when they puuuuut things on the floooooor." Hmm. Technically, no tattling going on.
So when we got to crest of the trail, it flattened out and ran along the rise, right up against the toes of the first mountain. Xander was still dwadling behind, Sophie ran ahead, and Scott and I kept an even pace, holding hands and enjoying the descending evening. I kept a mild eye on Sophie, thinking, "Good thing she's getting all that energy out. She'll go down to bed with no problem tonight!" She kept running. And kept running. Pretty soon she was so far out that she started getting smaller with the distance. Growing uncomfortable, I called out.
"Sophie! You're too far, come back!" She kept running. "SOPHIE!" Still she kept running.
Now Scott lent his USMC bark, "SOPHIE! STOP!" She kept running. My heart did the little drop shift from 'concerned' to 'there's danger here', and letting go of Scott's hand, I sprinted after her.
"SOPHIE!" I yelled as I ran, pumping my arms, my legs a windmill of adrenaline on the gravel path.
She finally stopped. Turned. Saw me. Burst into tears and ran back across the distance to me, sobbing, her arms reaching, her heart in her eyes.
"Honey," I said when I had finally caught her up in my arms, her legs wrapped around my waist, nose in my shoulder. "Honey, you can't run so far away from Mommy and Daddy. When you get so far away from us, you can't hear us when we call you."
Between sobs, she choked out, "I thought I was lost, and I didn't see you anywhere, and I was trying to find you."
She hadn't been running away from us. She was trying to find us.
And then I realized. How often in my life do I run around, scared and alone, when my Father can see me all along, and is calling me. I just can't hear Him.