We must have been quite a sight, he and I, sitting on the corner by the gas station this morning. He, standing tall in khakis and a blue henley, and I, sitting beside him in my own khakis and pink button-down-shirt, waiting quietly, watching the cars go by, waiting for the one that would come to pick us up. It was almost noon, now, and we had been waiting for some time.
He turned to me, putting his hand on my shoulder, watching the cars rush past us without a second glance. I patted his hand reassuringly and spoke the words again, “They’ll be here soon, honey.”
To make the time pass, we went inside the gas station and looked around for something to eat. As his eyes roamed the room, I wondered what would catch his interest on this sunny fall morning, and I waited for him to make a suggestion for us both.
Ice cream indeed. As I unwrapped the paper to expose the cone, his eyes brightened in anticipation. We walked through the gas station door and returned to our perch, halfway between the window and the curb, halfway between the busy, busy world and our own conversation. We settled in to wait.
Almost immediately, both the tow truck and a bright red minivan pulled up in front of us. My companion threw his little arms around my neck in surprise, reflex sending him back into my arms. It was the same motion I remembered from when he was Bear’s age, just learning to stand on his own, a little wobbly, but confident that I would catch him. Not thinking twice. As if I were endlessly resilient and strong, instead of just his mama. I helped Widget into our friends’ minivan and settled him into a carseat next to his buddy, the little guy who he adored on first meeting, these many months ago. While my friend watched over the boys, I arranged to have our stalled car towed to the dealership, and then climbed into the minivan after them. It would all be okay. We were with friends now, and they would take us home.