When I was a young girl my father was serving at 3 churches every Sunday. We lived in rural Montana and the congregations were all quite small, but my father would make a commute each and every Sunday. Sometimes my family would all join him for the evening service in Lennep, MT.
After the service we would pile back in the car, my parents, Ben and I (my youngest brother Sam was not yet born). I remember those drives home as being very quiet. My parents would be in the front seat, talking softly to each other. Ben would fall asleep, lulled by the motion of the car shuttling through the quiet Montana nights. I would rest my head against the door and look up, noticing the stars and the beauty of the night sky.
One such night I remember noticing when we passed Two Dot, MT and thinking I should probably fall asleep since we would soon be home. I wanted to be asleep when we arrived because I wanted my parents to pick me up and carry me to bed, as I knew they would do with Ben. I am sure I tried to put on a convincing show, but sleep wouldn't come.
When the car pulled into the back and we were home I pretended to sleep. My father picked up my brother and carried his sleeping boy body right up to bed. My mother gently tapped me and said that we were home. No doubt she knew that I was awake, but for me it meant something else. I knew then that I was growing up, that my body was big enough that neither of my parents felt inclined to carry me upstairs anymore. I wasn't hurt by it, but for some reason it was one of those defining moments in my life. I knew that I was not little anymore--at least in my 8 or 9 year old mind. Just a moment of being self-aware I suppose.
Last night Eric and I piled our tiny family into the car and headed home after a Sunday evening spent with my parents. Cordelia fell asleep as Eric and I quietly talked on the drive home. When we pulled up I unlatched her car seat buckles and scooped her up as gently as I could. She woke for just a moment and then nestled into my shoulder and with a sigh she was back to sleep.