The wind was chilly but the sun shown warm. I snuggled the boys into jackets and shoes. “We’re going to the woods,” I told them.
“We’re going crazy in the woods?” D asks with a grin. He’s teasing me as I tease him everyday after school.
“When’s mom picking me up?” he asks as he drops his book bag on the floor and pulls his shoes off.
“Not sure,” I usually reply.
“What are we going to do today?” he continues.
“We’re going crazy in the woods,” I tell him in mock seriousness.
“No, really, Tasha, really.”
“Okay,” I wink, “we’re going really crazy in the woods.”
We step into the pick-up truck. The red one with four-doors. The “car-truck” as my husband says. After car-seats are buckled we drive to the barn to pick him up. He’s working on a tractor. A Case 1030, his newest project.
I remember when we were first married and tractor numbers would mush together like split-pea soup. 1030, 2640, 1590, 8210… meaningless. I’d give my poor husband a bewildered look then whisper, “What color is it?”
It’s an International 784 (it’s red) that takes us out into the woods. It pulls a wagon behind it and I sit in my hoodie with muck-boots and a firm grip on two boys. They are all wide-eyes and laughter as we bump over last years corn stubs.
Then we’re pulling down sap buckets and clomping through underbrush.
“Where’s the syrup?” D asks.
“In the sugar shanty by the house,” I explain.
“But why are we dumping this syrup?” He points to the yellow sap in the bucket still hooked to the tree.
“This sap isn’t good anymore. Look at the trees,” I point up and we both stare skyward, “see the green?”
“It’s budding out and that means sugaring is done for the year.” Another year of steamy evenings and maple taffy and sap-boiled hotdogs finished.
Later the boys are racing through the maples and leaves are rustling under their feet. I feel my husband’s arm slip around me. “Sure is more fun doing the daily things with kids around,” he comments.
We watch the littlest one take a face plant. We wait for a cry but he lifts his head, looks at me, and giggles. I blow him kisses.
We’re laughing and the grip around my waist tightens. “Thank you, Lord,” the deepness of his voice settles in the forest, “that today we get to share our lives with these children.”
And I agree with him.
And just like God promised,
he was there.