Five minutes before their bedtime, I ran outside to adjust the positioning of the sprinkler, and I spied the first firefly of the season.
Four minutes before their bedtime, I invited the girls to search for fireflies in the backyard with me. We climbed out on the deck and the air was perfect, neither warm nor cool, with a light breeze. Dusk was turning to dark and we saw one, then two, then four or five flickers. Far above our heads at the trees' crowns, there were the first fireflies.
We watched the skies grow dark and the blinks come closer and I knew bedtime as a schedule knows it was slipping away but the evening was too perfect to disrupt for the sake of schedule. L sat on the deck railing and leaned against my chest and snuggled my arms around her belly. E ran barefoot through the lush grass, chasing bugs that wouldn't stay lit long enough to be found.
We haven't held one in our hands yet but we saw the first fireflies of the season and did bedtime way too late and summer is coming, as sure as the fireflies, and dozens of perfect warm nights where the magic is too tangible for routines.
This is my favorite time of year, when summer stretches out before us and we can run barefoot through the grass and everywhere, there's possibility and promise and if you're lucky you can hold the glowing right in your hands.