The Uncomfortable Truth of Needing a nap.

Once those doors open, the kiddo will surge out: and he will have no mittens. A toque barely half on. One boot mismatched - two sizes too big and that black tightening tab left undone. Again! Again. A part of a blue scarf trailing behind him. But he runs. He runs to me, and (there is) excitement. There is excitement covering that face! I see - I see it!

Mommy! Mommy! Guess what? Before me now, and I notice the small puffs of winter smoke rising from his mouth. I bend to greet him. Oh, I bend to greet him. 

Mommy, did you know Did you know that some parents don’t take naps every day? They don’t! It’s true! I learned it today in class! 

And oh - I don't know what to say. Between us a burst of things that ought to be explained they come down into mind but (seem) disorganized, storm-like and some, too big to explain. Too big to explain to a kid! And so I open my mouth I open my mouth but - I am crouched in a snow-covered parking lot, you see, with a mouth gaping like a fish and only winter breath to offer. My fingers are cold. 

But grace. Before I can say whatever ought to be said, he - my son! -- has turned and quite jauntily bounces farther into the school field. Perhaps unaffected? (He is) heading toward home, I suppose. I hope. Oh, but I am left bended. I will admit this. I am left bended, And I will stay here awhile.

(It is through these fogged up glasses that I am able to watch him move through the field - our field! - and it is only now that I notice how that too-large Star Wars backpack slaps against his legs as he runs.)*


*It is in this snow-and-ice-covered parking lot, that the grief will come. Oh, I will try to hide it from the other routinized gather-the-kids-after-school parents and grandparents, the onlookers. And I will not cry. But it will come. Inside, it will come. It's always at unexpected times, isn't it?  And while there is no blame in the kiddo's discovery of what a healthy ("normal") parent can do, I can’t help but rage at how much my kidney disease, and this (perhaps) ill-timed transplant has affected him. Continues to affect him, really. Yes - he is right - I do usually require a nap by the afternoon. Still. Still! But by now, growing up quickly, he no longer does. And so - him and me - we are left with a standard post-lunch routine of my lying down and his agreeing to play (sometimes) quietly by himself. And he thinks this is normal. And he thinks this is normal. This! - this -  is what I will mourn today.