I saw a picture of bliss in my back seat tonight.
We left the Allen family party just before midnight. We had a wonderful evening of fun, and as always, questioned why we don’t make time to see that side of the family more often. Nat King Cole was singing The Christmas Song on the radio and I looked back to see my six-year-old, Eli, already fast asleep. His little head was bobbed over against the back of his booster seat, his face half-hidden by his hood. The Transformers toy he received was resting on the floor of the van, tucked safely between his feet, and his expression was one of sweet contentment.
And I knew exactly how he felt as my memory dashed back to when I was a little girl, riding home in the dark after the Allen Christmas party, my hands clutching the gift I’d received, and my heart full from time spent with people I loved. It felt so safe back there with dad driving. I’d rest my head against the seat of our old Chevy Impala, gazing up at the sky and believing with all my heart that one of the flashing red lights I glimpsed up there was Rudolph being taken out for a trial run this night before Christmas Eve.
That was what safe felt like. If I ever had to go back and capture a Polariod moment that fully expressed safety, fullness and contentment, it would be me dozing off in the back seat of that old blue car on the long drive home each December 23rd.
We got home, I undressed Eli and tucked him under his cozy covers. Then I kissed his forehead and thanked God for these little moments of bliss.