The Most Natural Thing in the World

I was visiting my twin sons’ school today, sitting in the hall just outside the preschool office, when they walked by. J & R were holding hands on one side of a teacher. On her other side, she held the hand of a fellow three-year-old, a boy I hadn’t met before, no doubt a new classmate of one of my sons. My sons broke free to give me hugs and kisses. R said, “I love you, Mommy!” Then, as if it were the most natural thing in the world, the other boy, the boy I’ve never met, looked me right in the eye and said, “I love you, Mommy.” Was he confused? Or was he copying the speech of my son, as three-year-olds do? An hour later, I would come to believe he was, in fact, doing the most natural thing in the world. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t his mother. In that moment, in a big school, this little boy saw a mother, and it spilled right out of him, the I love you, Mommy he’d likely been holding onto all morning through playground and snack, circle and books. In the hallway, I didn’t hesitate. “I love you, too,” I said to the boy, sealing our first meeting. Then all three boys waved and waved (peeking behind to make sure I was waving back) as they walked the rest of the hallway, which was, thankfully, quite long.