As we walk along the path to school, I hold his hand a little tighter, my vain attempt to hold onto the moment. I know all too well that this moment, like all the ones that have come before, is destined to blur and fade into a dim recollection of chilly mornings walking in silent contentment. I know, too, that I have limited time before the blurring begins. Next year my younger son will be in fourth grade, the time for boys to begin letting go of their mothers' hands.
At the end of our walk, in bright sunshine on the edge of the playground, in the midst of children running and kicking and hitting and laughing and talking, I swing him around to land in my arms for a hug. I wish him a good day and tell him I love him, getting ready to let him go. I am thinking that I would rather stay wrapped around his warmth instead. But I let go and watch him walk away, disappearing around the corner of the building.
I turn and make my way back across the playground, keeping a watchful eye on the kickball game that is inconveniently located just across from the gate to the outside world. Once again I manage to escape unharmed, and I make my way back down the path to my car, this time with only the memory of the warmth of my child's hand in mine.
I treasure these few quiet morning moments. They restore my sanity. They slow time down, casting the hustle and bustle of getting to school and work on time to the periphery of my consciousness. I breathe more deeply and see the world more clearly. In my head, I compose lines that I will later fervently try to remember to write down. Or not.
I will miss this morning ritual once it comes to its destined conclusion. It is only a few minutes, but what precious minutes they are. Life is often reduced to one giant, non-stop to-do list. But here, that list loses its importance. Here, the mind once again recognizes the things that truly matter.
My footsteps slow as I get closer to my car, reluctant to leave this peaceful moment. With one last look back, I get in. The day awaits me and there is no turning back.