Out of the car next to me emerged a tall, thin boy in a shirt and tie, looking awkward, nervous and eager to escape his parents. He stood outside the car while his dad took a picture of him with his phone. He looked determinedly away, obviously not wanting to be delayed. After the picture was taken, with his dad's comments of how great he looked falling un-received to the ground--the boy began to stride away from mom and dad toward the shopping center. His shoulders were bunched up, his hands either shoved into his pockets or adjusting his tie or patting down his mop of brown hair.
I looked over at the mom. She stood away from the car--one hand on her chest, one hand waving. Her mouth moved, but no words came out. She looked to be on the verge of tears. I felt tears spring to my eyes, too. Will my boy have this same moment?
As I walked through the shopping center, groups of junior high kids passed me. Their electric energy was palpable; the level of glam they each were exhibiting was mind-numbing. They were so young! I thought about how hard those ages are, how high school is even harder. I imagined my own kids in that crowd. In that awful, awkward age where you are between child and adult. Where no one knows who they are and there is a lot of "mean" going around. I said a prayer for my babies, and these, to be strong.
Those moments are seared into my memory. I don't know what junior high and high school will be like for my babies, but I pray they make a safe passage. I pray that today I can be instilling in them the things they will need to make it through those years...
But, mostly...it makes me adore today even more.
Today, my boy grabs my face and insists we kiss on the lips when I drop him off at school. In front of his friends. With a big, big hug.
Today, my girl insists on wearing combinations of clothing that leave me equal parts embarrassed and pleased that she can feel so good in such an eye-watering array. "Aleni boot-a-full." Yes, you are.
Today, my boy wrestles me to the ground and makes me laugh until I cry when he says, "Don't worry about it, dollface." (Thanks, Penguins of Madagascar)
Today, my girl stealthily sneaks down the stairs at night after her brother is fast asleep... her freshly-bathed hair hanging in her eyes, thumb in her mouth. She tiptoes into my room, wanting just a few more moments of mommy-girl time before going off to sleep.
Today, my girl whispers to me her secrets, my boy asks me to snuggle him....they find me to tell me they love me.
And... they tell me--there truly is no way to freeze time? Maybe not, but in writing about it... at least it can be remembered.