Last Monday, I couldn't wait to pick Cruz up from daycare. After a wonderful Spring Break week at home with him, Monday was kind of rude-awakening, back-to-reality for me. My attempts to balance were put to the test yet again, especially after having an entire week at home to see how much I've been missing. So, after saying goodbye to the last sophomore to leave my classroom, I hurried to daycare to say hello to my favorite little pupil.
When I arrived at daycare, I immediately noticed twenty or so adorable little munchkins lined up perfectly outside the main doors of the center. Some seemed excited to have a breath of unexpected fresh air; however, others looked scared and worried, evidenced by a few fresh tears and white knuckles clasped tightly around the daycare employees' hands. I wasn't used to this sight and my first thought was that it was a little chilly for recess.
"The babies are in the back entrance of the church," one of the college girls said to me, recognizing me as 'Cruz's mom.'
"What's going on?" I asked, growing just slightly worried.
"Fire alarm," she replied.
After receiving the o.k. to enter the building, I went in search of my little. I ran into Kari, the director, whose eyes immediately calmed my nerves.
"Our system had a circuit issue. No fire. Cruz is holding down the fort in the baby room."
As I entered the baby room, I immediately went back to my daycare-working-days, particularly one that involved a tornado warning, a storage closet, and the task of occupying twelve, confused one-year-olds. Empathy is a powerful tool.
Cruz's college 'girlfriends' looked flustered and beat. They went in and out of the baby room, carrying babies on each hip. Some cried, some literally screamed, and all looked utterly confused at the change of pace. I immediately scanned the room for Cruz, but didn't seem him.
"Here we come!" shouted Chas, down the hall! I watched as she pushed a crib into the room, one with wheels on the legs and clear plastic on the four sides, which allowed a perfect view of another add-to-the-baby-book sight I hope I never forget.
There was Cruz, my brave little firefighter, on his tummy with his head up high, as if directing and overseeing the entire event. On both sides of Cruz were two of his 'daycare friends,' two sweet little girls sound asleep in the crib. He was protecting them, of course.
It was one of those moments that begs no explanation, just lots and lots of laughter. The girls and I stared at Cruz's big eyes and laughed until we were blue in the face. He had no idea what was going on, but after seeing the smiles on our faces, cracked a sly smile himself. A funny moment for Mom, a not-so-funny moment for the three girls who had to haul seven babies outside for a fire drill.
It was a moment I wished I had my camera permanently attached to my hip. My Cruz, the protector.