Driving my youngest child home after he's had a full day of school is better than winning any lottery could ever be. I settle our black van in the school pick up line early so I'm one of the first cars he sees, and then along with my mid-afternoon coffee and a book dog-eared to the page from the day before, I wait.
I spot his curly head run for our car, and the way his backpack bounces against every disc in his spine makes me cringe with sympathetic pain. His eyes never leave mine once he's locked into my gaze, and when he's almost at the car, I push the button to open the automatic sliding doors. He falls in like he just made it onto a lifting helicopter.
The backpack is flung in first, followed by his all-legs body lunging across the middle seat. With his head tossed back against the headrest, he exhales a big sigh. His sets the stage, his first words are always the same, "What a day."
And then he sits up, animated, he buckles his seatbelt, and the words pick up pace as he realizes how much he has to tell me. The unbelievable events, the surprise twists, the triumphs, the challenges, the happenings of his day in his 5th grade classroom that YOU WILL NEVER GUESS BUT GO AHEAD TRY, MOM, TRY!
He dares me to see if I know who held the court at foursquare at lunch, to guess who finished the math quiz first! And then, who do you think forgot their homework again!
I guess, and most times, I'm right... and the short ride home is over way too quickly. We pull into our garage, and the chattering stops. He scoots out of his seat and runs into the house, not able to wait one minute more until he can peel his school uniform off and ball it onto the living room sofa. He opens the refrigerator and rummages for a snack, our conversation from the ride home already left echoing in the car.
Except for me, his voice lilts in my head like the first chirping of birds after a much too long winter. I replay all he's told me because I never want to forget the sound of him, still so bell-like and clear, and young.
My children are what make Mother's Day what it is for me -- a time for me to celebrate this role of my life. I need no more than the gifts I already gloriously have, that of their love as they greet me with the enthusiastic retelling of their day. What more could there be, than how this child of mine saves and gathers his words, until the time of when he sees me again.
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