Last Thursday Libbey asked me (and Sissy, too!) to join her for lunch at school..."They're serving cheesy breadsticks, corn, and salad, Mommy--I don't even want to bring my lunch from home!"
How could I resist such an invitation?
Caroline and I sat at a round table with Libbey and a few of her classmates, enjoying our food, waving to all the children who called out , "Hey Libbey's Mommy!" and chatting with several of the adults also present. (A close family friend, a cousin, and a church member...yes, my child is surrounded by loved ones throughout her day at school.)
While eating, I also heard quite a few boisterous children. Noticed a couple of little girls who seemed rather withdrawn. Saw children cramming their mouths full with food...children whom I'm certain are not fed very well at home.
With ribbons festooning both her hair and blouse, a younger friend of Libbey's made a great effort to wave to me. Sitting next to her was another little girl, wearing sweatpants far too large for her petite frame, a stained, short-sleeved t-shirt, and hair that may or may not have been washed since the dawn of 2010.
I could barely choke down the remains of my meal.
To keep myself from crying, I asked Libbey and her friends about the test they had just taken, on magnets & poles. ("I made a hundred!" each child promised.)
When it came time for Libbey to return to her classroom, she hugged Caroline, hugged me, then walked off. Just as she got to the lunchroom door, she turned back and said, "Love y'all!"
I made it to the parking lot before I fell apart. And I did fall apart...into a mess of weepy, blubbery tears.
My child attends school each day in clean clothes, with freshly a washed head and face, as well as freshly scrubbed teeth (after her belly has been filled with breakfast, of course). I pack more than enough food for her lunch each day, and when I pick her up in the afternoon she knows I'll always proclaim, "I love you!" and inquire, "Did you have a good day?"
Libbey is blessed. I remind her of this daily. Just as I remind her that no matter when or where she goes, what she becomes, or how old she grows, I will always love her. I will always take care of her. I will always be there for her.
I am blessed.
Mothers...grandmothers...aunts...godparents...lovers of children...whichever category you fall into...go hug your child today. Because we are all blessed.
And yes, I'm weepy again. When it comes to the love I have for my daughters, I am sappier than an episode of Little House on the Prairie or Dr. Quinn. (Oh, Sully...) I don't apologize for this...not even when I fall apart in the parking lot of the elementary school. It's warranted.