In a Hurry
by Gina Barrett Schles

 

I was in a hurry.
     
I came rushing through our dining room in my best suit, focused on getting ready for an evening meeting.  Gillian, my four-year-old, was dancing about to one of her favorite oldies, "Cool," from West Side Story.
     
I was in a hurry, on the verge of being late.  Yet a small voice inside of me said, 'Stop.'
     
So I stopped.  I looked at her.  I reached out, grabbed her hand and spun her around.  
My seven-year-old, Caitlin, came into our orbit, and I grabbed her, too.  
The three of us did a wild jitterbug around the dining room and into the living room.  
We were laughing.  We were spinning.  
Could the neighbors see the lunacy through the windows?  It didn't matter.  
The song ended with a dramatic flourish and our dance finished with it.  
I patted them on their bottoms and sent them to take their baths.
     
They went up the stairs, gasping for breath, their giggles bouncing off the walls.  I went back to business.  
I was bent over, shoving papers into my briefcase, when I overheard my youngest say to her sister, 
"Caitlin, isn't Mommy the bestest one?"
     
I froze.  How close I had come to hurrying through life, missing that moment.  
My mind went to the awards and diplomas that covered the walls of my office.  
No award, no achievement I have ever earned can match this: Isn't Mommy the bestest one?
     
My child said that at age four.  I don't expect her to say it at age 14.  
But at age 40, if she bends down over that pine box to say good-bye to the cast-off container of my soul, 
I want to her to say it then.
     
Isn't Mommy the bestest one?
     
It doesn't fit on my resume.  

But I want it on my tombstone.