As we drive to Ironton, Ohio for our full moon walk on the levee, it is her, instead of me, who is the first to say, “Would you look at that beautiful sunset?” I put my phone away and look.
We park and stroll on the paved walkway, our companions the river and flood wall. One mimics the moody sky, the other is painted with murals of sunshine, flowers, and a quote by Audrey Hepburn, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”
A little further up and we can see over the flood wall. There are more murals painted on the overpass piers by the train tracks with messages of hope, love, and healing.
We reach the top of the levee and see the moon. It’s been watching our backs this whole time. It hangs in the sky beside the courthouse dome. We take the posed photos and talk about why it’s called the Sturgeon moon. We speak of Jupiter and Saturn and planets vs. stars and in the talk of a vast universe, under the glow of street lamps, her small voice croaks, “I miss my daddy.”
He’s been out of town this week, so we FaceTime on the ride home.
This month’s walk when the moon is full is flavored with change. This is her first week of 2nd grade and she is bolder. Instead of asking to go slow in the gator, she yells, “Go faster!”
She no longer wants to order a kid’s meal but assures me, “If you get one Mimi, I’ll take the toy so you don’t have to keep it.”
And at bedtime I am no longer needed to lie down beside her while she goes to sleep. She points out the full moon peering through the window, her nightlight. Her safety. But after a while, she asks me to come hold her hand.
So I return to her room and do just that.