Cooter is enjoying his drama program. Each week he heads through that door and doesn’t look back.
Well not much anyway. When he is on stage delivering his lines (yes, he’s already memorized them! what a relief), he will glance over and smile with this “nailed it, did you see that?” look on his face. I smile and sometimes offer a thumbs up. He’s in his element, and that is a joy to see.
They’ve progressed to the point in rehearsals that all of the children wait backstage for their scenes. Once they begin, I don’t see him except on stage until it’s time to leave.
This week there were a group of parents waiting for their children near the front door close to the end of rehearsals. Since I stick around the whole time, I had already walked over and signed him out. I stood off to the side, waiting. As the crowd of children headed our way from the back, I finally saw Cooter. He was moving with purpose towards our direction, but his eyes were steadily searching…..for me. Oh my heart. And then that moment when I moved into his line of sight and he saw me…..
His eyes lit up and he smiled that smile, and his stride was a little more relaxed. It warmed my heart and soul and made my life to see the expression on his face.
And then just like that, I was his age–or maybe a year or two younger–again. I was on the playground right after school was dismissed, and I was carrying something that Mama had sent treats to school in. I was looking for my someone to find me and take me home. I can still remember that exact moment the crowd parted, and there he was, that handsome, smiling fella I called Daddy. In that moment, I was relieved, safe, and home.
So it was a very precious thing, this moment that Cooter and I had, where I got a small taste of what that day was like from Daddy’s perspective. He found me just as I found him.
March 23 is my Daddy’s birthday. The day to make a cake, light it up with candles, sing, and have him blow out the candles. It’s the day I give him way more than one card because there were always several that made me laugh and think of him. It’s the day that we all try our best to make him feel loved and bigger than life. Because he was.
This will be the fifth year we celebrate his day without him here to give me a pickle or two off of his cheeseburger pizza. The fifth year I don’t spend an inordinate amount of time in the card section and perusing ideas of what to give him on Amazon. The fifth year we don’t hear his laugh or watch the children trying to help him blow out the candles.
But it will still be special.
Tonight I’m thankful for the man who first looked for me and never gave up finding me, no matter how far away I wandered off. I give thanks for every single year of his life that I got to spend with him, listening to his wisdom, sharing my ups and downs, and swapping stories. I am especially thankful for that day that I was feeling so lost and there he was. And I know that’s how it has always been–when I was the most lost, Daddy has always been there to help me find my way back. And in a way, he still is.
Most of all, I am thankful for my little guy whom my Daddy named Cooter because he loved cars just like that mechanic on that TV show years ago. Because I was loved and looked for, I can do that now. Now I get to see what being found looks like from the other side.
And it is beautiful.
May you all have someone to look for and who looks for you.
Love to all.