As adults, there is so much beauty we take for granted. The way a neon sign buzzes, the lights and shadows it casts on a window pane, cracks in the pavement, ants marching. These microcosms are completely overlooked. We’ve seen them all a million times before, and we’ll see them again tomorrow. But when was the last time we actually saw them?
My children love the moon. They can’t reach it. They can’t hold it. They’ve never been able to have it. But they love it. It’s to the point where any time we’re outside, day or night, they’ll search for it, like an old friend.
“Moom!” they say. “Moom? ‘Lo, moom?”
And when I tell them it’s not dark enough out yet, and we’ll see it tonight, they are instantly contented, awaiting the time when they’ll see it appear.
If we’re driving, and it disappears behind some trees, they are distressed.
“Moom!” they call out. “Moom! Mama, mama, moom! Moom?”
And when it reappears, they are comforted.
They play a game with the moon, where they reach up their little arms as high as they can, grunting and groaning, making as if they’ll stretch all the way up to the sky to touch it.
“Too high!” I say. “Oooh, too high. Can’t reach!”
And they laugh and give up. The moon is a great friend of theirs. It enchants them, it comforts them, it bewilders them, and it stays with them, even when it’s not in sight.
Because it’s always on my babies’ minds, it’s always on my mind, too. And I realize, I’ve missed the moon. I, too, used to love the moon, as they do. It mystified me. It made me feel better. It has been years, though, since I’ve seen it, really seen it. In my adult life, it’s become just another light in the sky. Just another shape moving through the night. Something in my peripheral vision. Something unimportant to the very important life I was leading.
We live too quickly as adults. We refused to be awed. We have no time to let beauty in, let alone actually contemplate it. We have things to do. One of the greatest gifts my children have given me is a look at the world through their eyes. An acute appreciation of things already known.