a post valentine's valentine, for my kids

still a heart. but cooler cause it's been places.

Sometimes the brightest moments come on the most unsuspecting of days. And those moments are simple. They're divine in the engagement, in a hug. In an "i love you, mommy."

They're bright by way of a drawing of a volcano monster, thrust into my hands before the seat-belts are fastened or the car door even shut, cars queueing impatiently behind us for us to move along and out of the school lot. But we sit for a minute and you explain every detail.

They're a happy exhale of "wow, our room looks great! thanks for cleaning it!" though I know it's a tiny room, and it holds only half of your things, and you often feel fragmented and frustrated by the lives between two households.

They're your artistic feedback on my recent art project. "I like how you used those screws, Mom! And that's a good color." And you nod your approval. And I tell you to set it back down, the resin's still curing. And you say "okay".

These bright moments are so bright that they shatter the gray of a tearful yesterday, when I couldn't resist and ran down the stairs to visit you at daycare, to hug you as hard as I could so that your little arms made dents in mine, and your fingers imprinted themselves on my neck. And when I had to leave, and you had to stay, and your loving teacher gently unwound you from my grasp, my heart splashed out, and your tears spilled heavy over crumpled cheeks and a stuffy nose. And I never loved harder and never hurt as much as hearing you cry for an hour in your classroom beneath me, while I cried for two in my desk chair above you.

But today you tap danced with a teddybear. And I was there. And today you asked for salad. And I had some to give to you. And today we read stories, like any other day, but we dug down deeper in the bookshelf and found La Luna, and we talked about how she changes size. And it was perfect.

And I tucked you both in your clean beds, and you were grateful. And the cat made us laugh. And the dog made us plug our noses. And we all said I love you.

And that bright moment is worth any gray.

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