Walked up to school this afternoon. Planting myself firmly between their classrooms. The only one standing in the sun. Waiting. Ping-ponging my glances to see who was going to come out first today.
Because you don't wanna miss it. That moment. There's just nothing like that moment. That look on their little face when, after scanning the sea of parental and parental-figure faces, they finally see yours across the tangle of double helixes, all different sizes, all different shapes, all different colors, but they. will. always. find. you.
And when they do, once they do, their whole face changes color. It illuminates. Entirely. Like the lights of a vanity mirror. Beaming. Radiant. Brilliant. And their smile just swallows up every last inch of their little faces.
"MAMA!!!!" he yells, as he comes racing towards me, arms and legs flailing, like a rubber monkey, or a disjointed marionette, and I can feel it as I squat down, simultaneously spreading myself open to welcome him in and tensing up as I brace for the crash. This one second is, in and of itself, the very definition of parenthood.
So I take him up in my arms and spin around with him, telling him in his ear while trying to contain his squirmy squirreliness that I missed him and asking about his day.
"I missed you, too, Mama! My day was GREAT!" he says, as he Houdinis out of my arms and runs back up the ramp to grab his backpack. And from there...at least 15 feet away from me with a handful of parents and children and teachers in between, he calls over his shoulder with the biggest smile on his face, "Mama! You know what?!"
"What is it, baby?" I yell back, signaling for him to hurry and come along as his sister's class was finally letting out.
"I smelled you coming!!!" he hollers.
"WHA?!?!" I stuttered, as every single head within earshot turned towards me.
"I caught your scent, Mama," he said. And the world faded to black. And all I could see were his eyes. His enormous, gorgeous, onyx eyes, floating in pools of white light.
"I would know you from miles and miles away," he said, and it sounded like he was right there in my ear. Right there in my head. Right there in my belly. All over again.
[Oh, my love, that's just the smell of heart.]
[post-pub edition: syndicated on BlogHer]