Mornings are not my favorite — even on the best mornings, when my fingers don’t fumble for a later alarm and I manage to accomplish a run while still getting all the lunches made. Even the best mornings involve some sort of rushing, sometimes from the kids and sometimes from me, particularly in the winter when gloves know you’re late and hide in random corners with Lego pieces and empty Tic Tac containers.
They don’t like the cold, either.
We had a not-best morning last week. On those, even my most practiced, steady effort can’t hide my frustration, and I feel the clutch of defeat in my chest as I reach for their hands to cross the stress. Some mornings like that end in tears, quiet ones pooling in eyes and lodging in my memory long after frustration floats away on the wind.
Last week, the not-best morning offered a gift as the almost-frozen garage door creaked open. The sky, caught at exactly the right moment between dawn and sunrise, greeted us in layers of sherbet shades — pinks and oranges none of us had expected.
We stopped walking, suspended in awe and frigid air at the top of the driveway.
“Oh. The sky,” one of us said, and I don’t remember who or if we even spoke it aloud.
We stared, hands together, and the heaviness of the imperfect morning lifted.
I didn’t hurry them across the street.
Our feet moved forward, cautious by habit on the icy buildup near the curb. Their cheeks had pinked by the time we reached their respective doors, and with the sherbet sky overhead, I took an extra moment with each goodbye kiss — mittened hands on the sides of their faces and full eye contact and smiles.
I saw them, the way we all saw the sky: beautiful and perfect and unexpectedly complicated. I yearned for them to see me, too, to feel the apology for trying to rush them, to feel how much I love when they linger in my sight.
If we had been on time that morning, we could have missed that exact painted sky.
I need to remember not to miss the pink skies; they won’t always be there for me to see, a gloved hand nestled in each of mine.