we open the door to start our little journey, our weekday ritual of walking to her little school. stepping out into the moving mist, we make our colorful entrance on the gray landscape. and it is wholly gray. no shadows, no light. all gray. the sky, the damp sidewalk, the branches of bare trees. i look down at her and adjust her purple hood, pulling it in close around her warm, rosy face.
we chit chat about things she might do at school today, dodging the piles of dog poop that thoughtful owners have left behind. she turns to me and asks if i love her. of course, my darling girl. of course. with a smile, she buries her hand deeper into mine. the warmth of her hand in mine is my spot of sunshine.
before we know it, we are greeted by a teacher at the entrance to her school. i walk inside with her, drinking in the primary colors and the harmony of the classrooms. i unzip her coat. she wriggles out, gives me some sugar on my cheek, and scampers to play and work alongside her friends.
i watch for a little bit, a voyeur into this part of her life that is away from me. i look at the clock. only 6 more hours till i get to pick her up. oh dear. the other one needs his medicine. i must get back.
back into the cold i step. i walk back, alone. it’s a peaceful loneliness, one of the few stretches of my day where i have my thoughts to myself. no one has claim to this time, not clients, not children, not the daily tasks clamoring for attention. no, this is my time. fighting the chill, i try to shrink myself into my red jacket, the one my mother used to wear. the one my daughter has asked for when she becomes a mother. happy thoughts.
a searing cold makes itself known on my scalp. ah. my unbrushed hair has given up its last defenses to this damp. so be it. i dig my fists deeper into my pockets, willing warmth up to my head. it doesn’t quite work.
i walk back into my home to the noise of happy chatter. bean is happily playing with our wonderful nanny. i look at him, at his happy, chubby self, making raspy choo choo noises with his christmas trains. he expands my sunshine today, too.
rather than spoil this moment just yet with medicine (oh! the travails of ear infections!), i turn on my kettle. make some brioche toast. expand the sunshine of my daughter’s hand and my son’s voice.
hello, gray. i’m ready.