We sit in a camp chair in the shade of the high school athletic building. Eden’s swimming lessons are over, while the older two children are in the middle of their swim practice.
Eden sits on my lap. Despite having a towel and a cover-up on, her wet swimsuit is slowly dampening the mom-jeans I’m wearing. I don’t mind, it’s been an overly warm day.
My daughter looks at me and starts to beg, “Can we read it now? Pleeeaaase. I have been waiting all day.”
“Are you sure you want to read this book?” I tease her, “It’s so old. I read it when I was little.”
“Mom, I love this book. Please, let’s read it right now!” Eden wiggles all over my lap in her sincerity and the damp spot on my jeans widens.
“Alright, alright,” I say as I pull out the first of the Little House books from my purse. “Where were we?”
Eden quickly turns to the chapter we’re at and lays her head against my shoulder. I breathe in her chlorine scented hair and then we read about Laura and long Sundays and naughty boys who break the Sabbath.
When the chapter is over, Eden begs for me to read one more and I quickly agree.
The sun hangs low in the sky while the birds sing their evening songs. In the background we can hear the sounds of children swimming and people playing tennis. Underneath all of this there is the low drone of some industrious homeowner mowing his lawn.
It is a perfect moment, sitting here with her. And just as Laura says at the end of The Little House in the Big Woods, I think to myself “This is happening now. It can never be long ago.”