It is getting very cold, very fast. It may snow tonight. As we walk up the little hill to the school our noses turn bright red. "The air tastes minty!" says my little one. I smile and take a deep breath. Would I have thought of that? Probably not. Thank you sweet girl. We stand stomping our feet while we watch the few bike riders being dismissed. Maybe someday we will be that brave, but it seems a little slippery for my taste. Next come the stream of walkers. I look and look for my daughter's pink coat. Scanning the line I feel the slightest tingle of worry, did she get on the bus by mistake? Where is she? And then she is there right in front of us smiling. She sees that I've been looking over her head and that I was worried. Every time I get her back a little piece of my heart relaxes. All day while she is at school a little spring inside of me is set ready to go at a moment's notice. And so when I finally hug her and take her heavy backpack off her shoulders, I feel the spring release, ah, my babies are safe.
We walk back down the hill toward the car. "I'm cold, cold, cold," she chants. "I know, let's move, move, move," I reply feeling my hands burn with the lowering temperature. But she is in no hurry. She's been inside all day. She shuffles her feet pushing pine needles this way and that. Suddenly she is crouched on the sidewalk finger pointing, "Save the worm Mamma!" I look and there is an earthworm stuck on the nearly freezing pavement. "Get him, put him back with his family!" my daughter implores. I gently scoop up the worm and lift him to safety in the leaves. He slowly wriggles his way out of sight. We all feel better. Where did this love of earthworms come from? She can't stand insects and is quite afraid of ants. But here she is attentive enough to notice this worm in distress that I would have walked right over. And her sense of concern, wanting to make sure he gets home to his family underground, this is precious. This cannot be learned inside.