It was the annual tradition of the elementary school's Turkey Lunch. I packed a lunch for the picky PreK tagalong, and we joined Tucker for a plentiful harvest in his cafeteria.
What a delight to see him in action, to see him making the rounds to gather his food, choosing his place at the table, and socializing with his network of six-year-olds. It's a gift to enter his world.
But I didn't see the blow coming - the families sitting with their students, and the dads, the dads, the dads.
I didn't want to be there alone. I didn't plan to be there alone. Robb would have met us there, his company car in the parking lot, his Farmers Insurance logo on his shirt. He would have folded himself in half to squeeze onto the stool at the little tiny tables. Later, we would have laughed about the yellow gravy, the dry turkey, and the dozens of children eating only the frosted pumpkin cake.
I finished the lunch, deposited my children in their respective classrooms, walked to the car, and fell to pieces in breathless sobbing.
I saw that Tyler had left his jacket in the car. I prayed that God would send sunshine or an extra jacket for my little man, because I couldn't bear to go back inside.
There is no medication for the tearing ache of longing. There are no warning signs for a blow like this.