I drove Henry to school the other morning, like I do most mornings. The road holds an eclectic mix of houses--small, quaint, farm, colonial, suburban, dilapidated--and a distinct New England air that I adore. This road opens to a cemetery, a pumpkin and Christmas tree farm, as well as a soccer field. The road curves, dips and moves with abandon. Old, distinct trees border the road--tall, stretching sentries lining our way.
The drive usually fills up a part of my soul that I often didn't know needed filling. This road provides a moving sanctuary for Henry and me--it's our quiet time, our alone time. For us. After the bustle of lunch boxes, hats, backpacks and shoe-tying, H and I enjoy our drive, when we co-exist, watching the wonder unfold outside our windows.
The car is usually quiet. I alternate between watching Henry and watching the evolving landscape. Although I've memorized the dips and topography of the land, it still manages to grab me each and every day. I admire the slope of his nose, the rose of his cheeks, the swath of his eyelashes.
Typically, Henry clasps his hands and he peacefully rests his head on his carseat. He absorbs everything. The creek. The horses. The trees. The cows. The birds. My heart usually soars and repeats this silent song: I love you I love you I love you. We sit silently together, yet alone.
"I love you, Henry" I tell him, finally out-loud.
After a thoughtful pause, he says, "I love you, too, Mommy." Our eyes meet for a moment in the rear-view mirror. Sometimes I reach back and hold his still soft, still (but-not-for-much-longer) pudgy hand.
Then, the world continues by. And we watch. Together. And alone.