I noticed the tremble in her lips, the slight crease in her brow. The way her eyes narrowed as she looked down at the ground, fear etched across her face.
Rumbling buses. Big kids. A sea of backpacks.
She walked toward the group out front, hesitated, and turned to look back at me. Her older brother was suddenly by her side, grabbing onto her hand. He whispered something to her and they both smiled, continuing on their journey together. The tightness in my chest softened.
Goosebumps prickled to the surface, my heart swelled. Her bravery and the sweetness of her big brother soothed my raw, exposed nerves. Clear-eyed, I watched them vanish behind the bricks.
Not a single tear was shed.
Until the second day of school.
“Mom!” my son said through clenched teeth. “Don’t follow us!”
He slammed the car door shut and off they went, hand in hand, rushing up the sidewalk to school. Without me.
Rush. Rush. Gone.
I sat back down in the front seat. A tear rolled down and then another, a flood out of nowhere. Sharp pangs in my heart pounded, leaving me breathless, the ache only growing stronger as I watched them disappear through the front doors.
Love’s lesson–a miraculous and beautiful burden for the rest of my days.