Several days ago Jen came into the store to get coffee before she left for a weekend in Houston. She told me the kids were out in the car and wanted to see me. I walked out to talk to them. This happens from time to time, but for some reason it was an especially wonderful experience. I leaned into the vehicle to get hugs and talk for a few moments. I made the comment that it's been such a long time since I've seen them. Upon hearing this Jude, almost five, reached up and placed the palm of his hand on my cheek. With the concerned look of a seasoned nurse he asked, "Have you been sick?"
I then talked to Jen for a moment. It was one of those very special "Wow, they sure are growing up" conversations. A few days before Avery was at lunch with some of us. I noted how well she had behaved and how much fun we had. Jen agreed that all three were maturing into well behaved little kids. There was almost a sigh of relief wafting throughout the conversation, as if a very difficult season had officially come to an end.
In the silence I looked over at Sutton, sitting politely in his seat. He gave a smile and reached out for another hug. I said goodbye then went back into work.
Later in the day I was leaving the gym, thinking about the pleasant interaction that had occured earlier. I chuckled at Jude asking me if I had been sick, and thought what a compassionate human being he has become. I thought about how much Avery has grown and how Sutton has remained about the most loving person I've ever known. The countenance on my face must have given me away, for when I passed a lady in the parking lot that I know by face from several places around town, she said, "Wow, you look like you're in love."
She was correct.