Daddy, I Think the Moon is Following Me

I was on a cross-country flight, gazing out the window at what I am pretty sure was Columbus, Ohio, and there it was: the moon. The mid-day moon, looking just slightly odd with a sky blue background.

I’ve seen it hundreds of times, but it still looks a little out of place — like someone forgot to tell the moon that he’s supposed to be nocturnal. But don’t fret; that’s where my three-year-old daughter comes in.

Emma is constantly bringing home new songs from her Montessori school. One of her favorites is about that moon who dares to show up during the day.

Mr. Moon, Mr. Moon, you’re out too soon.
The sun is still in the sky.
Go back to bed, and cover up your head,
And wait ’til the day’s gone by.

If she were on the plane with me and saw this brazen moon, Emma would have no compunction about breaking out in song. At the top of her lungs she would belt out those scolding lyrics to Mr. Moon, so loudly that he might actually hear her and shyly retreat below the horizon until dusk. So loudly that I would surely get some dirty looks from other passengers.

My other daughter, Claire, is five and would likely chime in as well. As the oldest, Claire tends to be a bit more shy, but she wouldn’t miss the chance to join a good moon song. Claire would also remind me that the moon follows her wherever she goes. (Please note, the moon does not follow all of us, he only follows her.)

I was thinking about my girls on that plane. Missing them and wishing I could share this moon sighting with them. As luck would have it, the moon kept up with my plane as it headed East. I guess the moon made an exception that day and decided to follow me instead of Claire.

Five years ago, I would not have thought twice about seeing the moon. The moon wouldn’t have filled my heart with warmth. If I knew any songs about the moon, they certainly wouldn’t have popped into my head each time I saw it. But, as a father, I now realize how lucky I am to be able to see the world through my children’s eyes on occasion.

Little things can conjure up great emotions. So, when I see the moon, I feel like bursting into song. I want to share my daughters’ youthful exuberance with my fellow passengers. I realize that this feeling is anything but unique; rather, it’s one of the many things that is special about being a parent of small children.

A large part of becoming a parent means that you must be more responsible. There are, of course, little lives that depend on your ability to provide and protect. But being a parent also means that you have the chance to be a little bit more innocent. You get to take pleasure in some of the things that only a child could possibly notice or be excited about.

I am grateful for my little girls for many reasons. But not least is for the fact that I am that much more likely to break out in song at a moment’s notice or to be convinced that a celestial body is following me. And I am certain that there are many more innocent moments to come. I can be sure that I will not let them go to waste.

So, come on, Mr. Moon. We have to get back to Philly before dark so that I can show Emma. I know that you’ll keep following; Claire told me so.

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