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Sunday, November 8, 2015


Every day, I walk my younger son to school.

It’s part of the good fortunate of living a few blocks from the local elementary school, and one of the reasons we bought a house where we did. It isn’t quite so pleasant once the colder weather picks up, of course, but for now, we stroll down the sidewalk side by side, talking about his day, or mine, or Minecraft, or whatever else he’s been pondering for the moment.

As we draw closer to the front door of the school, into the thicker traffic of morning arrivals, we stop. He gives me a big hug. I tell him I love him, and to have a good day. We share a fist bump. And he runs off without a backward glance, joining the stream of small humanity rushing its way toward its day.

But, always, he stops right before he gets to the door.  He turns back. And he yells:
“I love you, Mom!”

And then he’s gone. I’ll see him that evening when I arrive home from work, when he’ll pepper me with commentary about his day while I scramble to get dinner ready or drive him and his brother to activities and errands. In the meantime, he’s left me with those four words.

Those four valuable, precious words.

I know that this will not last forever. Already, I see his friends and classmates giving him that judgmental little glance kids can do so well. He does not care much, at the moment, or even notice, but all too soon, I fear, he will.

He’ll stop yelling those words from the front steps. He won’t want the hug, or even the fist bump. He’ll request that I stop walking by his side a block away from the school, or that I allow to him to walk the entire way by himself. It’s the way of things. I know it’s coming.

(Or maybe I’m wrong. Jim, at the ripe old age of 11, still has no compunctions about saying “I love you, Mom!” Jim does not care what other kids his age are thinking. Jim, really, does not care what anyone is thinking. Many days, I think he has the right idea. As much of a challenge as it can be, there are many blessings involved with having a child with special needs, as well.)

But this happens with many kids. If you’re lucky, they come out the far side of that “I don’t want to acknowledge I have parents in front of my friends” stage ... hopefully in time for college. It’s just part of the process.

I know that. I’m prepared for it. My kids know I love them. I know they love me. A simple morning ritual makes no different to that basic truth.

But for now, I’ll listen every day for those four little words.

**

We’re all about dinosaurs in the Keppeler household right now. Since we allowed Sam to want “Jurassic Park” and its sequels, they’ve been a major topic of conversation. We have dinosaur books. We have dinosaur video games. We have stuffed dinosaurs who must go everywhere with us.
So I was pleased to see the Buffalo Museum of Science’s next special event, the appropriately named Dino Daze.

The event, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 14 at the museum, will feature the unveiling of the newly restored allosaurus, costumed dinosaur greeters (with photo opportunities!), a chance to become a paleontologist for the day, a giant dig pit, trivia contests and more. For more information, visit www.sciencebuff.org.

+Jill Keppeler  is feeling lucky today. Follow her on Twitter @JillKeppeler or email her at jillmkeppeler@msn.com.



East Niagara Post is the official media sponsor of Hockey Day in Lockport.

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