“Here I am, where I ought to be.”
“Mom? I’m turning ten in a few days.”
“Hmm? Oh, yes…yes, I know. Stop growing already, will you? You’re nearly an inch taller than I am. People are beginning to point and laugh at us at school.”
We smiled, knowing that what I’d just said was true. A chickadee darted in front of us, its black cap blending effortlessly into the morning shadows, its song echoing off of the branches of the trees overhead.
“Now that I’m older…” he paused, causing me to turn my head.
“Well…I’m just starting to think about things, like, you know…all of my brothers and sisters.”
“Oh,” I nodded, lifting my hand to touch the back of his head.
“And I remember the last one that died. Ki-Ki.”
“Yes…sweet Ki-Ki.” Somewhat consciously, I pressed my right big toe into the pavement to ground myself. Why did I suddenly feel dizzy, and not of the earth?
“How old was I, Mom? When he died.”
“Um…so, that was right before first grade, so…you were six. Six-years-old.” I paused, then…”What do you remember?”
“What he looked like, I guess. And the hospital. And…you. You, sick.”
I exhaled, realizing why I was dizzy. I’d been holding my breath. “I’m sorry, Julian. That must have been really scary for you, seeing him, and me, like that.”
Again, I wanted to say that I was sorry, but I didn’t. Somehow communicating without the need for words, my son and I stood still, my hand now resting on the back of his neck. Around the corner, headlights appeared, the gears of the school bus entering our conversation. We watched it approach, an odd sensation of déjà vu settling on my shoulders.
“Bye, Mom,” Julian said, moving towards the open doors of the bus.
“Bye. See you after school.”
But on the first step he paused and looked back. “Love you.”
“Love you too, sweetheart. Have an awesome day.”
Waving to each other through the windows until the bus was out of sight, I stood frozen except for the movement of my hand.
But I didn’t cry. This time…I didn’t cry.
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Photo credit: ThoseGuys119 on Visualhunt / CC BY.
so beautiful and so well written, brings tears to my eyes. So blessed to have Julian !
Yes, very blessed.
This is really moving ❤
This really is well written and heartbreakingly beautiful! What a huge thing to be on the mind of a child. I’m glad he has you to talk to❤️
We are both very lucky to have each other. When he needs me, I’m there, and vice versa. I think what we’ve been through together has made a bond between the two of us that will last a lifetime. Thanks for your comment.
These little ‘bus stop’ moments….love, love, love. You two clearly have a strong, beautiful bond. So special! ❤
Such a strong bond…you should have seen me at that same bus stop on his very first day of school. Ugh, the tears!! Silly, mama…