Snapshot Series: Walk of Faith

It was Wednesday afternoon. The evening sun peeked through the windows. Lighting the kitchen in warm orange glow. Little coats and report sheets lazily scattered the kitchen island. Each telling a story of the day. I had picked the kids up early from daycare. My monthly routine when Justin is up north for a night. 

We had an hour before I had to start cooking dinner. Usually I'm frantically cleaning hands and wiping faces. Pulling out pots and putting away lunch boxes. But not this day. This day I situated on the floor. Quietly smiling at my kids tinkering in the kitchen. 

Jack dangled from the island. His eyes lingering for a snack. He started to sing. Ella, busy clapping the dog dishes together in the pantry, looked up at him. Smiled and started to sway. I laughed. The girl dances for everything. 

Jack and I started to discuss dinner. Him on top the counter. Me legs crossed on the floor. Ella picked up the dog treat bag. I sighed. 

"Not again, E. The dogs still need to eat dinner." 

As the words left my lips, Ella caught my gaze. A grin took over. She stepped towards me. My smile lit up. 

"Come on E! You can do it!" 

Her excitement got the best of her. She crumpled to the floor. Ella had been taking steps, here and there, for three weeks. She hadn't completed a walk further than three steps. 

"Stand up E! Come on, stand up!"

She smiled at me. Proud. And, actually stood up. She grabbed the dog treats and headed my way. The thrill rose in my voice as I coaxed her to me. Her smile grew with each step. My heart melted with each step. 

She fell just before reaching me. Anticipating my hug. I swooped her up. Threw her in the air. Tears soaking my cheeks. I'm not one to get over emotional, but Ella's first walk reminded me of Jack's. It was a day larger than small steps. A day everyone in my family will never forget.


Aug. 22, 2010. 

My Nonna had been in a coma for over a week. At 93, she had suffered a stroke. She had been living in assisted living for years. Unable to tell me from my mom. Yesterday from 20 years ago. And, spring from summer. 

She still saw me. Knew me. But, the independent woman I grew up idolizing was already gone. I always said she'd hate to see herself this way. So dependent on others. Unable to talk world news or write a letter in Italian. I missed her every time I saw her.

That early afternoon Justin, Jack, my Mom and I had spent at my parent's lake.  It was one of the most beautiful days. A slow breeze trickled off the lake. The summer sun warming our skin. The thought of fall lingering in the trees. My Mom even said we needed to enjoy that day. And, we sure tried. My dad was at his mom's bedside. Reading the newspaper and catching up with his brother.   

A week past 11 months old, Jack was a true toddler already. He had mastered standing. Would occasionally take a step or two, but never without coaxing. We usually tricked him to walk. He was head-strong. Determined. And, fearless. True boy right down to his curiosity. 

Jack played in the grass as we talked. He grabbed the arm of my Mom's beach chair and stood up. Sitting on the grass a few strides away, I coaxed Jack to walk to me. He looked over his shoulder. A sly smile. Turned and walked towards me. Too many steps to count.  The three of us cheered. Hugged and kissed him. Probably the first time any of us had laughed in days. 

For a few moments, we watched Jack wobble around us. Smiling and cooing at his accomplishment. He'd fall and get right back up. It was amazing. 

Then, we saw my Dad walking towards us. A different look on his face. We all knew. My Nonna was gone. 

For me, the timing wasn't coincidental. It was faithful. As we told my Dad about Jack, I saw a small twinkle in his dark eyes. It was then I understood. My Nonna was there. Reminding us to smile for the life we're watching grow. Not cry for the one we watched end. 


The post above is part of my Snapshot Series. When my preschooler, Jack, was a baby, I recorded all his milestones and silliness in a journal. I'd write daily on the things he was doing. First tooth. First time climbing the couch. His first laugh at the dog. And last taste of baby food.

In order to keep my recordings alive, I've started a Snapshot Series. An e-journal of my children. Like pages in a diary, I've shared the moments of laughter and smiles that keep my world turning. Captured like photographs. So when Jack leaves for college or Ella goes on her first date, I'll have these tiny memories to remember.  

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