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The ruts are deep and jar us violently but we laugh through it - the red wagon rocking and us sitting on bales of clean straw as we traverse the Holstein fields deep deep back to the sugar bush.
I want a picture of the kids, of their flushed faces and those smiles and this adventure we're on but Liam ducks away each time I lift the camera.
"Liam, come on! Please?"
"No!" And he giggles and thinks it's a game.
"Please? Just one picture?"
Zander holds onto him while I quickly snap one.
"You don't even know how beautiful you are!" I tell him.
A woman sitting on the opposite side of our shared bale spins around and leans in. "Oh my," she says. "You are
beautiful! Look at those eyes! That smile! My goodness!"
Liam is embarrassed. His blush sneaks up beneath his toque and he tucks his face against Noa's jacket, laughing.
"Your mother's right, you know," the lady continues. "This is one thing she'll always be right about!"
She turns to me, her eyes sparkling and the pale pale blue of a pure husky. "It took me forty years before I believed it for myself. Isn't that the saddest thing?" She has two decades on me and smooth freckled skin that may have never seen a stitch of makeup. Her greying hair is wispy and wiry and she is beautiful in the way the world is beautiful - all surprise and no pretense.
"That's terrible," I tell her.
She smiles. "Yes, but now...." She turns back to Liam. "You listen to your mother on this. She knows!"
Alanna Rusnak lives in Southwestern Ontario with her husband, three children, and a cat she's trying hard not to love; blogging the extraordinary at SelfBinding Retrospect