GIFTS OF THE MOMENT

Mom has ditched me. She is a whole 10 minutes late picking me up from kindergarten. She is probably making me go live with my teacher, who smells like old pecans.

So that’s why I am crying.

But my teacher tries to console me by hugging me into her shirt. Her shirt also smells like old pecans.

“You smell like old pecans,” I tell her.
She stops holding me.

Then Mom shows up. She smiles at me. I am happy again.

***

Years later, Mom told me her side of the story:

“I had to rush back from work to pick you up, and I’d get stuck in Los Angeles traffic. I knew I was going to be late, so I would pray that, somehow, I could get there not so late. Because, in California traffic, you could be stopped for hours. I prayed and I prayed. I was never more than 10 minutes late. Of course, you were still crying. But you were OK. I was always happy to see you.”

She said, when she saw me, the knot in her heart disappeared.

Then I asked, “Why didn’t you call the school from your cell?”

“That was before cell phones,” she said.

Then I remembered, one time, she stopped at a gas station to call the school and tell them she’d be late. My teacher told me my mom had called. I still cried.

Wouldn’t have matter if she called or not. I’d be crying either way.

But, at that moment, it meant the world to me.

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