Mario has been begging me to pick him up from school this week. I had a break in the middle of the afternoon Wednesday so I surprised him. His face beamed when he saw me and I saw him mouth “there’s my mom!” to his teacher. I even got a big hug when he reached the final step.
He begged to go to the park with some other boys. I trailed behind as they raced ahead to the gym set on the park turf. They jumped and kicked and tackled one another. Maria played with her friend Anna and acted like a mother hen to the boys when one stumbled over another and began wailing for his mom.

“Where’s your mom, sweetie?” she asked him gently as she put her arm around his shoulder. She walked him over to where he was pointing and delivered him safely to his mother.

Mario continued to rough house with the other boys until all of the moms decided to go. Mario was a sweaty mess when we left and jammed his thumb moments before I told him we had to leave. Needless to say, it was Meltdown City. He reached his hands up for me to hold him. I scooped him up and carried him to the car tussling his blond hair with my free hand. He laid his head on my shoulder.

I completely absorbed myself in the moment. I remember his musty smell that would have repulsed me if it came from anyone else; but from him it was like smelling nectar. I remember hearing his exhausted breathing and the weight of his tiny six-year-old body against my chest. I was in a love cocoon and did not want to break out: couldn’t we just stand on the street in front of the car for eternity?

I have learned to treasure those moments and cement them in my brain. They come in handy when I’m sitting in a meeting listening to the fifth person give her take of why we should follow her lead. Or when I’m biking home. Or when I’m on hold with the doctor’s office. Or when I’m in the shower.

They make life sweet and delicious.


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