It just so happened that Parker's school photo day was not on one of his school days. So we walked over to the school on a Wednesday, stood in a line full of nervous preschoolers (Parker is shy about some things, but he can never be accused of being camera-shy) and turned right around to walk home.

But with a three-year-old nothing is boring. It was such a beautiful day, the quintessential fall day. We crunched in the leaves, and stopped to talk about the fresh prints they left behind on the sidewalk. We noticed the smell of burning wood in the air and tried to identify which house it was coming from. We talked about why the trees lose their leaves and what will happen in the spring when they pop back out. And then the most exciting thing happened. A flock of Canada Geese flew over our heads.

Parker was beyond excited and honked right along with them. He jumped with joy and pretended to fly. He asked a dozen questions, never stopping to listen to the answers. He was in birdwatching heaven. And I was in Parker-watching heaven.

This time last year my heart ached to see his smile. My arms longed to be wrapped around his little body. His laugh only danced in my memories. And my sadness from missing him tried to compete with the worry of losing Matilda. I would close my eyes and dream of a day when he would fill my world once again.

Life feels normal is all the best ways. My eyes are open. My heart is full.

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