7:36 am Josh drops Gus and me off early at school. Before Josh leaves, he gathers Gus in his arms and asks, How many kisses do you want? Gus says, So many kisses! Josh playfully delivers rapid, successive kisses to his cheeks, nose, and forehead. Gus beams with laugher and delight. Then Josh and I embrace and hold each other momentarily in the cold air. With our faces close, we kiss and say good bye. Gus calls after Josh, Good bye, Daddy! He reaches for my hand, and we walk into the school.
After Gus and I eat yogurt with honey granola near the front windows. Gus asks me to read a book about a mischievous red fox, but I can see that his real attention is on watching the families enter the school. A spoonful of yogurt drops into his lap when Miles runs over to say hello to him. Gus shrinks beside me and grips my sleeve. He looks up at Miles with curiosity, but doesn’t say a word.
8:05 am Gus and I reach the door of the bustling early arrival room known as Bamboo. I kneel and draw his small body close to me. I whisper, Daddy will pick you up at 3:45. Gus repeats, Daddy will pick me at 3 and 45. Then I gently let him go. For a minute, I linger, watching in the doorway. Gus meanders his way through the busy children over to Margaret, the assistant. She welcomes him warmly. He crawls into her lap.
After I’m walking with Dana, a colleague, in the hallway. We chat about the day, and then she surprises me, I saw you and your husband hugging this morning. My face instantly feels flush, and I sense the emergence of a smile. Yes, I blather, we are hugging folk. Dana nods, It’s truly such a nice thing to see. I’m touched by her words, her noticing. I both think and feel my luck! The realization consumes me.