Counting the minutes, I race around the kitchen while the house is still quiet. I brown sausage, fill a stockpot with water to get it boiling for spaghetti, set the table, prepare three glasses of ice water and a sippy cup, empty the dishwasher and refill it with breakfast dishes, declutter, and preheat the oven for garlic bread.
It all stops as I hear the door open between the garage and laundry room. I turn toward the inviting clicks, smiling.
Little steps skitter across the slate floor, followed by ones more pronounced. And, then, like a hand that moves from behind someone's back to reveal its surprise, he emerges from the shadows riding into the house in his fleece-lined pumpkin seat.
Although G is diminutive, wisps of platinum blonde hair tumble over where his head is cradled. Extended little hands wave free, as if to join my heart's happy dance party...even before our eyes meet.
I peek into the laundry room as my husband rearranges his precious cargo from rear to forward-facing.
He sees me waiting there. Waiting for his sky-blue gaze to light up, and it does. Post haste.
He gurgles, he 'talks'. He tells me secrets, giggling all the while. I listen, I remark. My enthusiasm mirrors his. But we're not close enough yet...flip, snap, click...one wiggly baby works his way out of the harness' confines and into my awaiting arms.
My right cheek nuzzles into his as to make up for lost time. That's my signature move. His, though, is different. Little G places his soft, full pink lips onto mine...and in one fluid motion, finds his right thumb to suck for an extra measure of comfort.
While we cuddle, he grows confidence. Just a few minutes more of riding around with me while I stir, set, gather, and serve and he's off on his own -- running, playing, searching, and finding.
At home together again.