Tonight I stood on our back deck, getting bored, wanting to turn and go back into the house. Night was falling, and the kids were chasing fireflies. I had been really excited to see the first fireflies of the season, too. It faded after ten minutes or so, and all I could think of were the dishes that needed washing. I forced myself to stay. To enjoy the night air, the fireflies.
Soon we were treated to a group of bats hunting right above our heads. The dishes still nagged, but I held fast. I taught the kids how to be as still as statues and listen with all their might, so they could hear the faint clicking the bats' sonar. Finally cries of "I heard it, I heard it!"
The first star of the night is spotted by Logan, his eyes way better than mine.
An idea comes from Ryan, his new night vision goggles he got for his birthday from his grandparents. He runs to get them. The bats prove to be too skilled acrobats to be followed with the goggles, but the kids have fun watching bugs, cars passing, each other. They gleefully run around in the grass, amid the fireflies, smelling like insect repellent. They take turns watching each other jump on the trampoline, until the only thing the people not using the goggles can see are Hannah's light up shoes.
I usher them inside, each full of their new memories. I'm glad I forced myself to stay, to take part in what I am hoping is a magical time for them. Some day they might ask "Do you remember that night with the fireflies, where we tried to watch the bats with the night vision goggles?" I'll be able to say that yes, I remember, because I was not inside washing the dishes. I was there.