Reflecting joy

The school morning brings the same routine: wake up, get dressed, breakfast, start the coffee, brush teeth, pack lunch, sight word practice while eating, and gather all the necessary items for a day at kindergarten.

At our front door the kids search for their shoes and socks and the dog runs between everyone’s legs anticipating the morning walk. “Go outside if you’re dressed and ready,” I say to everyone and no one. Charlotte is usually the first one out the door eager to begin her school day.

Most mornings I’m calling after her to shut the front door, but not before I hear her yell: “Look, look! The moon is out! Come look everyone!”

Isaac quickly follows suit and starts pointing to the moon, a white glow amidst the blue of the coming day.

“The moon, the moon, the moon!” They chant together.

As we walk our town streets the kids keep looking at the moon. When we cross the street and turn a corner Isaac points to the sky, “The moon is following us!”

Most mornings the kids look for the moon and marvel at its shape. “Look, a full moon!” Look, a half moon!”

On the mornings they don’t see the moon their excitement doesn’t wane. They turn their attention to the leaves blowing in the wind, or the streaks of clouds above. They trust the moon will come out again. Their joy is not deterred.


Many years ago on my final night in The Gambia as a Peace Corps volunteer, I sat outside with the women and children. We all knew the next day would bring my departure, but the conversation skirted that topic. Rather, they shared about their day - the stories from the well, the visitors to town, the news of babies and marriages. I listened to their banter under a cloudless sky. The night lit by the stars and moon. A young woman turned to me and pointed to the moon, “You see that moon. It’s the same moon that will be shining above you in America.”


A friend once told me that I wasn’t a morning person or a night person, but rather, an all-day person. I knew what she meant, I was joyful and ready to go anytime. I still am that person, but motherhood and its endless worries and insecurities, the pandemic, and the state of our world seemingly have robbed me of some of that energy and joy. It’s easy to scroll mindlessly, or constantly refresh the news cycle. I worry that all my kids see is my worry.

It’s easy to doubt the moon’s presence when I can’t see it’s glow.

Yet, the steadfastness of the moon’s presence, the way it reflects the light of the sun teaches me to be one who reflects light, too. And it shows me that some of my light is bouncing off on my children and coming back to me.

When I watch their bodies wrestle on the floor in fits of laughter, race down the slide, or play duck duck goose, I feel their joy and make it mine.

When they cheer in one voice at our picnic table, “Best picnic ever!” I give thanks for joy shared.

When they chant, “I love camping” with sticks and form a marching band, I clap along with them.

When they pile on the couch with a stack of books laughing through the stories, I give thanks.

Perhaps my joy is still present.

Another morning I step outside and the kids are ready for the walk to school. They haven’t yelled to me to come look. They’re not pointing to the moon. We can’t see it today. But I know it’s there somewhere. So maybe the moon isn’t always following us, but it hasn’t left us, even when we can’t see it. Much like joy, it’s there, underneath the surface ready to bubble out, to surprise us, reflecting the love of a God who delights in each of us.


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*This post is part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to view the next post in this series "Unexpected Joy."

*Moon Photo Credit: @marcusdallcol

*Unexpected Joy Photo Credit: @pheonixfeatherscalligraphy for C+C, 2020