There are some moments that extend into forever. This is one of them. She walked this whole long staircase down to the beach, one step at a time, and when it was time to go back up she ran ahead of me, wanting to climb on her own. I let her. I let her do a lot of things. I find that the more I trust her, the more cautious she is. She pushes the dining chairs across the room so she can climb up to the kitchen island and help me cook. She sits on the edge of the pool, making waves with her feet. She helps me light the candles, carefully blowing out the match each time and each time exclaiming; “WOW!!!” - like, “I did that!”. I let her walk on her own, climb on her own, explore on her own. Sometimes she looks at me like I’m the little one; like she is waiting for me to figure everything out and catch up with her.
Well. We walked this long, steep staircase up from the beach. It’s called 1,000 steps, this beach, but I think it’s more like 100. About halfway she stops abruptly. First I worry; did she hurt herself? Is she ok? She tilts her head back and for the longest time she stays like that, just standing there, looking up and out into the distance. I catch up, thinking she’s seen an airplane or a bird or something. Or maybe she is tired, waiting for me to carry her. “What is it baby?” I ask. She looks at me with big round eyes. “THE SKY!!” she says, as if she’s just announced the most mind-blowing thing. “THE SKY!”. She points to the golden sky above us, eyes glittering. THE SKY! She says it like that, in big, loud letters, as if she’s made the discovery of the century and come across something remarkable, magical, barely real. I look up. It’s the most beautiful sunset I’ve seen all year. I was so immersed in making sure she didn’t fall I missed it. She looks at me, still pointing her little finger at the beauty above. “Himmel”, she says. Sky. We look up. It IS remarkable. Magical. Barely real.
Just like her.
As the clouds turn a shimmering, cotton candy pink, I turn to look at her.
I’m still looking at her.
That sky. This moment. If she only knew: the way I feel about her is how she feels about everything beautiful.