They’re coming off the bus in 12 minutes. I want to make them something warm and cold. Lemonade, ramen noodles, and cinnamon graham crackers with Nutella. It’s not healthy, but it’s cozy.
I’ll pour the milk when they’re coming down the driveway.
Someday they’ll be gone, maybe in another city. We’ll have to follow them.
10 minutes and they should be here.
I put on the Halloween Pandora station. The box with their costumes is on the counter.
I’m happy, but this time is slipping away and I selfishly want more. More moments. It’s never going to be enough. My stomach drops with the thought of anything ever happening to them. My eyes water and I push back on the darkness. All the things I can’t control. All the things that could possibly go wrong.
I wish we could all be safe; always. I’m grateful.
8 minutes and they’ll come bursting through the door.
I pour my coffee out and clean the cup. I light that candle I love.
The house smells like cinnamon and pine. The trees are changing. Some are bare.
6 minutes and they’ll barrel down the driveway.
I let the dog out. Throw his ball and bring him back in.
4 minutes until I see them.
I pick up the shoes by the door and straighten up the piles of bills, photos, invitations, field trip permission slips, art, and schoolwork. There’s too much to organize. It all blends. I’ll get to it.
I answer a text and check my email. I get a pencil and paper ready to practice her spelling. The dog runs to the front window. He barks. It’s them.
I pour the milk and get two napkins.
They run with those giant backpacks sloshing back and forth. One with a clarinet. One with a trumpet. The weight of the day lifting off them.
I watch from the window and take a moment to breathe it in.
Zero minutes. The door opens. They’re home again.