“Mom, I'm home.” Boy did it feel good to say that. All day at school, and during my exam after, I'd waited for this moment. To burst into our kitchen and yell, “Mom, I'm home,” and to hear her reply...
“I'm upstairs sweetheart. I'll be right down.” My heart was doing its best to escape my chest. Not waiting for her to come to me, I bounded up the back case, nearly toppling us both over on the landing. As wonderful as my dad is, and he is wonderful, nothing or no one could ever match the love I felt hugging my mom right then and there. Ever.
Playfully unburying herself from my full on attack, she asked, “So, did you miss me?”
Crazy mom. And then before I had that chance to answer, my giddy bubble was pierced by a razor sharp stiletto when I realized that Carolyn would never ever hug her mom like that again. But still how, why, did she stay at Bobbie's instead of at home? My face must have given away my shock as I watched Mom's expression follow mine and without a word our embrace tightened. Neither in life or death would I let go.
“You okay sweetheart?”
Catching myself in a sniffle, I nodded yes, and then arm in arm we squeezed down the stairs and into the kitchen.
I wanted to hear all the details of her trip, all the details of what was happening, but then I didn't. Right then and there I wanted to insulate ourselves from the pending changes. Maybe mom felt the same way too. For she started our conversation with talk of school. “How was your day?” The typical post school question.
“Fine, a make up exam afterschool.”
“How are Jeff, and Melody?”
“Fine, they'll be over after school tomorrow to say hi. They thought it would be good to give us the night for just our family.”
Mom chuckled. “That is sweet of them, but they are family too.”
It's true, they are. Mrs. Westgate too. But not Jeff's parents. We had seen them socially a few times in the three years since we moved, but they were always too busy for the day to day life in Stockbridge. Too bad for Jeff.
“How is Martha?”
Mom knew we hadn't been to see her lately. “I don't know.” Her eyes met mine. And as if on parallel puppet strings we both turned to face the kitchen clock. There was a good hour before dinner. Without a word, we stood up, slipped on our coats and were on our way to Kimball Farm.