We walk to school today in the rain.
My son, with his red backpack and Batman umbrella, holds my hand as we walk up the driveway and across the street. We wave to the second-grader around the corner who rides the bus. With the school less than a half-a-mile away, the walk has quickly become my favorite part of the day.
Today, he sings as we go down our street. A made-up song of la la las fills the bustle of the morning. My heart becomes, if possible, fuller.
He slips back and forth between calling me Mama and Mom, a sign, I’m sure, of my baby’s quickly changing view of the world and my place in it.
We cross the busy street, holding hands. As we journey into the woods and down the path around the reservoir that separates us from school, his hand stays in my mine.
He asks questions about the rain.
Will it stop?
Yes, I say.
I’m not sure, I reply. But, soon.
Look, I point up. The sun is peaking out from under the clouds.
He looks up and then he jumps. Over puddles, over sticks. The walk is an obstacle course of sorts, a glimpse into the mind of an almost six-year-old boy.
We say good morning to other friends on their way to school. He stops holding my hand. I miss the way it feels in mine, so warm and full of the potential of the day ahead.
He notices the largest of all of the puddles and laughs. I smile. What joy he finds in the things I don’t often notice.
We reach school early. I offer to bring him to the cafeteria where the other early children wait, but he declines, wanting to be with me. He stays near, as if realizing I am leaving soon. We say good-bye before the business of the classroom drop-off starts.
A hug, a kiss. My lips graze his soft cheek. It’s easier to reach that cheek now—less bending down. When did he become this boy?
The bell goes off, we go inside, and immediately, I am secondary to new friends and conversations about playing football.
We visit his locker and drop off his things. With his snack in hand, he’s off to the classroom.
Bye, have a good day.
But before I start the walk home alone, I peek in his window. He’s at the door, laughing with friends. He sees me. We wave and blow kisses.
As I turn away again, I feel the tears start. That mixture of joy and sadness grabs me. I realize how much I love this boy, and I am overwhelmed.
It’s good the sun is coming out.