Watching Shooting Stars

It was the final day of the annual Perseid meteor shower. If I’d wanted the full display I should have gone out at 1am that morning. Instead I found myself laying on my back staring at the sky while the clock ticked over into the next day. Three of my kids and I were spending the night at a cabin in a state park. We were far away from city lights. The night was clear. All we needed was for the Perseids to cooperate and trail a few lingering meteors across the sky.

I lay there with my children, waiting. School would start for them in only a few days. I didn’t know how that would go. We were waiting for that too. Light streaked across the sky and I gasped, just a small, involuntary intake of breath at the sudden appearance and disappearance of light. It had been years since I’d seen a shooting star. I sent a quick prayer after it, almost like a wish.

Please let us grow this year instead of shrink. Please let us have happiness instead of hurt. Please, I don’t know what we need for this year, please help us figure it out.

More lights dashed across the sky. Some faint. Some bright. There weren’t many. Nothing like the display that people had described from the night before. I didn’t wish on them all, but each of them stole my breath for just a moment.

I wasn’t alone with the stars. My children lay with me, sometimes silent, sometimes cracking jokes with their cousins, always exclaiming out loud when lights streaked across the sky. I was glad to have them there with me, watching the lights and the darkness.

Shooting stars did not bring us any answers, just a beautiful moment to treasure.