Welcome to donut Thursday!, I bubbled. Hurry hurry hurry so we have time to get there before school!
Their eyes held both the vestiges of sleep and delight of the impending decadence and illicit pleasure of ditching their usual healthy breakfast for fried dough. Their giddiness bubbled through the house.
I heard dresser drawers slamming with fervor. Happy humming traveled down the hallway and into my bedroom. I heard the water running in their bathroom-they put water to their faces and put toothbrushes in their mouths but I mentally questioned the actual cleanliness of their teeth. However, not once did I say anything. Not one little nag or reminder left my lips. I got ready, too, pulling on a t-shirt and old, worn-in jeans that have memorized the lines of my body.
Our socked feet pounded down hardwood stairs. Backpacks zipped and coats were put on. In record time, we piled into the trusty white minivan and pulled out of the driveway, on our way to sugary (and caffeinated) delight. The leather seats were cold and the heat took its time warming our hands and bodies. Early sunlight dappled the edges of our morning and intense gratitude tugged at the tender edges of my heart.
I peered into the rear view mirror and spied their faces. Whisps of blond hair escaped Abby’s ponytail. She can’t stand this trait of her hair–it makes her crazy–but I adore the way the tendrils cascade and frame her angular face. Henry’s hair bore its usual untamable, haphazard thwatches of blond. I studied their profiles, their coats, the fold of their hands. They each stared out their windows, watching the world wake-up. Car exhaust billowed in the cold morning air. Frost decorated the grass blades and tree branches. A black bird sliced through the sky. A contented silence settled around us and I exhaled. My internal indicators of a not-to-be-forgotten moment signaled their drums: a blooming in my chest, a slight stinging in my eyes and a warmth spreading throughout my body.
There I was, with head and heart and body smack in the middle of this moment, round and full. Sated with the ordinary details of this donut-Thursday morning with my children. Despite my appreciation of our time together, another potentially pernicious emotion snuck in: a sadness at the inexorable departure of this space and time.
We got our donuts and devoured them on our drive to the school. The powered sugar from mine sprinkled my black, down jacket making it look like it snowed in the front seat of the car. Taylor Swift, The Beatles, Phillip Phillips and Crosby, Stills & Nash serenaded us.
We pulled up to school and parked the car. I asked Henry if I could walk him in (and purposefully did not ask Abby if I could do the same with her because she’s in fourth grade–she’s well past the days of holding my hand and wanting me to walk her in. I’m pleased with myself that I respected her wishes but, of course, simultaneously mourned the passage of that stage of her life. Sigh.) Henry declared that he would love for me to walk with him.
The sunlight had shifted from its pale beginnings to a warmer, fuller gold. We hopped out of the trusty white minivan. Abby stoically shoved her hands in her pockets and walked five paces ahead of us. Henry slipped his sugary hand in mine and we walked into the day.