It’s gray and cold and drizzling off and on. The car is still half packed and more than half covered in stale, slimy cheerios that Xander happily tossed by the fistful on our looooooooooo(breath)oooong car ride to and from Ohio. I’m behind on my grading and behind on my emails and behind on the laundry and the dishes and the cooking and I’m pretty sure we’re almost out of milk ALREADY.
My eyes are already bleary from the glare of the computer screen as I insert comments and copy and past rubrics and tut-tut-tut it’s OK that it’s late, turn it in soon, I understand that holidays are busy. I’m already tired and overwhelmed and feeling snappish and wanting just a few minutes to myself, please stop barking stop crying stop whining I’ll play with you walk you feed you hug you in just a minute, I promise, Mommy’s just really busy right now.
But then I feel a tug on my arm and Xander sticks his sticky and surprisingly soft hand in mine, wraps those dimpled fingers around my thumb and tugs me, chattering, to where he wants to go. He turns his curly head back, just once, making sure I’m still there, still behind him, then lets go and runs runs runs to his toys: stacking blocks and hugging bears and spinning in circles and laughing with a wide open mouth and my hand is suddenly empty and missing the warmth of his skin against mine. I pour him another snack-cup of cheerios, it’s impossible to keep track of how many he’s had today, and shake it, holding it tantalizingly out to him, before pulling it back in against my chest. He squeals and rushes to me, and before he can grab the treats and run off again, I sneak a hug in and sniff his neck and tickle his chin and then he’s gone, happy to know that I’m near.