Heaven is in a Parking Space at Starbucks

Ordinary places can harbor extraordinary meaning for some.
I can’t recall if I’ve told all of you that Lucy and I have a parking spot at Starbucks. That’s an occupational hazard of blogging, I think. You forget whether you’ve told the story before and just have to hope that your readers are either forgetful or forgiving.
I like to pull into that space when it is free and sit there to read and drink coffee, just as I used to with her sleeping in the backseat. This isn’t easy to do with Max along. He becomes impatient and uncomfortable. I remember that I tried parking there a few times not long after Lucy died and told Max why. He would last maybe a minute before asking to leave and got the idea that Heaven was in that parking space at Starbucks. I guess I can’t blame him, since I told him I felt close to Lucy there and he was only three.
I’m telling this story a bit backwards. As those of you with more than one child know, the second kid often gets the shaft when it comes to naps. They just have to sleep when they get the chance. It’s usually worked in around the older child’s schedule. Most of the time, they either miss naps or end up sleeping in the car.
Even though I felt the requisite Mommy guilt over Lucy not getting daily, regular naps in her crib like Max did, I secretly relished it when she fell asleep in the car, especially if Max was at school. I would pull into Starbucks, order a mocha, pull into one of two spaces towards the end of the row, and blissfully read my book or blogs until she woke up or school dismissal time rolled around.
Sometimes, I would gaze at the ranch land still left across the road and listen to her breathing. Mostly, I read like I was never going to get the chance again. Boy, did I have that one wrong.
This morning, I left the doctor’s office and drove to Starbucks. The spot has been free the last two times I’ve been there, including today. I drove in, parked, picked up my mocha, and started to read.
Although I no longer hear her breath or the sounds of her waking in the backseat, she is in every beat of my heart. The empty infant seat waiting back there will soon be filled with the breaths of the one whose heart beats under mine.

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