It was cold outside but they wanted milkshakes anyway. Typical. "We're going to drive around and look at all of the Christmas lights!!" I called out from the front seat. I have no idea what their response was because I couldn't hear anything over the sound of their little girl squeals. Something so simple made them so happy. As we drove through town, Christmas music playing on the radio, we took turns pointing out lights to each other. We picked which houses we liked best: Isabelle likes multicolored lights, Brees like blue, I prefer classic white. We parked our car and ran around the courthouse square, lights twinkling in every direction. They were positively giddy, the crisp night air whipping through their hair as they ran and oohed and aahed their way around town. River woke up just in time to see the lights, his big (still blue) eyes wide with curiosity as he took in the sights and sounds of his first Christmas season.
I felt so nostalgic that night, remembering the years my own mother would pack my brother and I into her car in our pajamas,driving us from one neighborhood to the next looking at lights. Something so simple still measures up so big in my Christmas memory bank. But, sometimes that's all it takes to make a big difference in a child's life: a break from routine, sparkles and glitter, being together. It was one of those nights that reminded me that my kids are happy when they see me happy. They relax and really settle in deep to their inner joy when they see me do the same. I hope that's what they will remember: Mama singing along to the radio, smiling and telling them stories, reassuring them and encouraging them with a full and happy heart. I hope they never forget nights like these.