I move quickly, he watches me.
Coffee in hand, he sips, starts to broach me, changes his mind.
I start all on my own, which he knew I would do. Ten years of together does this to a couple.
It’s too much. Too busy. She’s only in third grade.
“But still,” he interrupts, “It’s third grade.
I still my hands, lean against the counter, look into his chocolate eyes. They’re soft. “She’ll be fine,” he says, trying to soften my eyes as well.
Draining my mug, I note the time, head upstairs to wake my girl. For the first time ever I have a child who sleeps in in the mornings, comes downstairs slowly, half asleep.
Also for the first time, she’s trying new activities, ones she’s picked on her own.
Years of carefully planning and organizing and plugging activities into her days is what feels familiar.
Thoughtful chocolate eyes that match Jason’s looking my way as she holds bright slips of interest my way, do not.
I pad halfway up the stairs, MindWhispering my reminders about papers and backpacks and snacks and ponytails.
She’s already there. Papers in folder, backpack loaded, ponytail in place.
“I’m ready,” she says, smile wide.
I wait at the bottom of the hill, wondering how her day was, expecting the tired and the grumpy that tend to accompany busy kids.
She steps down in purple, hard to miss. Her ponytail loosened, auburn whisps frame her face.
About to cross the street, she looks up, catches my eye, and waves.
Her eyes are lit, her cheeks are raised.
“Hi babe,” I start once she’s crossed the street, one purple booted foot in front of the other, making footsteps toward me, a path between school and home.
“Hi,” she breathes and doesn’t stop until well past the road and the driveway and snack and backpack unloading and Chloe and Brody heading outside and me checking the fridge for dinner clues.
Her day was full, and this kind of emptying was my (new) role in it.