The late afternoon sun beams straight through the back of the house to the windowed front door. We enjoy this magic hour for a few brief moments every sunny day. Harsh light brightens the entire space and creates long-legged shadows. It reveals dust on the cabinets and a tinge of red in my baby girl’s curls.

My daughter does a short-legged dance and makes an ungraceful twirl in her tutu, with open hands extended just above her head. She stops mid-dance: “Mom, I see a rainbow!” She disappears, and I hear her patter quickly toward the front door, then stop and patter back again. “I found a rainbow, Mom!”

She comes to find my legs and wraps her short arms around them, then unburies her face from my knees and looks up at me with a cheeky grin. “Mom, I found a rainbow!” She runs off again. I leave my duties to follow her, and find myself standing full in the stream of light. I can almost feel it warm the air around me.

She gestures in the direction of the wall. “It’s a rainbow!” I turn to see only my shadow. I make it move.

“That’s a shadow, Baby.”

“No, a rainbow.”

I make exaggerated movements and my daughter giggles as the leggy shadow marches in place.

“See? It’s my shadow.”

She runs up and pats the wall, watching the shadows a bit before returning to her twirls in the light. I return to my work in the kitchen.

I hear my name again, but this time frustration edges her voice. “Mom!” She stomps her little feet toward me and assumes her best angry face. I try hard not to smile. She grits her teeth and plants tiny fists on her hips. “Why did you take my rainbow? Give it back!” She stomps her foot again for emphasis.

I squat down to eye level. “There is no rainbow, Baby. Do you want my shadows back?” I stand and step to where I stood before, making the shadows dance again.

“No! Not shadows! Where’s my rainbow?”

“I don’t know, baby girl. I didn’t take your rainbow.”

She runs back to the light and looks down the hall. “Oh! There it is!” She laughs and begins her twirl dance again. “It’s my rainbow!”

I step to where she stood and look where she was pointing. There, in the prismed glass of the front door, are rainbows.

I smile at her and shake my head. The light in which she dances is fleeting.

“Just keep looking for those rainbows, Baby. Stay in the light.”

There are no rainbows in the dark.

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