I fill out my ballot while he stands quiet beside me. It’s quiet here. Quiet like church during prayer.
He stills his three year old little self to stand beside me while I fill in the little squares beside the names. Five minutes later, we’re finished. The volunteer gives us both a sticker.
We step outside into the brilliant fall sunshine that seems to set the world ablaze.
He asks me for a donut. So we walk the two short blocks through the beauty of downtown to the little bakery. The leaves crunch under our feet.
He chooses a long one this time (a long john) with chocolate frosting. He carries the small paper bag containing his little treat back to the car.
We stop at one more store and he tells me he’s tired. Tells me he doesn’t want to shop any more. Tells me it’s time to go home. But it’s just one more tiny stop so I offer to carry him. He relents.
We hop out of the car, me with this almost four year old on my hip, and step onto the sidewalk.
“Mommy, wait! Go back!! Look!”
I put him down and he bends to scoop up the biggest leaf I’ve ever seen.
It must have been glorious in its day. Briefly I wonder if it grew at the very top of the tree. What makes a leaf so stunningly big anyway? When it floated down from its tree it would have cast a large shadow. It was huge and it was healthy once. But then came the autumn. Big, brilliant, beautiful as it was, time held no refuge. The green faded to gold, to orange, to brown in places. And it let loose into the breeze.
Seasons come and seasons go. Rulers rise and fall from power. Beauty bursts forth and then fades. Little boys are only three for a short amount of time.
But One never changes. One whose hand paints the canvas every morning, streaking the sky with blues, pinks, purples and oranges. One whose hand formed the rulers who are good and the rulers who hurt. One whose hand colors each and every leaf. One whose hand created little three year old boys who don’t really care all that much about elections or paychecks or policies. He gives them eyes to see the wonder we miss – the wonder we step right over in our hurry – the wonder we refuse to acknowledge because we’re too busy worrying – the wonder we tend to crush under our feet because it seems like it doesn’t matter.
And I marvel. I stare at the giant leaf he clutches. The same fingers that fashioned this beauty also made the sweet boy hiding behind it. So I’m not sitting down with fear today. I’m not entertaining disappointment. I’m not giving my thoughts to worry. I’m spending time with wonder – and with a little boy who found a treasure made months ago just for him.