Less than three miles into a planned long ride on the I & M path, Hubby's phone rang. Angel Baby was having a problem with his left eye, and he had a headache. Could we please come get him? Honestly, part of me wanted to tell him to suck it up and get back to his classroom. Didn't he realize we'd just spent over an hour driving to get to the path? Didn't he realize I had mileage I needed to rack up? I didn't say any of this, though, because I could tell by his voice that he wasn't his usual perky, happy self. Instead, I told him his sister would be there as soon as possible to pick him up, and we would be on our way home within the next fifteen minutes. So we turned our bikes around, and rather than a day of ambling along the canal lined with purple-leafed vines and trees of vibrant yellow foliage, we hurried back to the truck, quickly removed the front tires from both bikes to load them in the back, then set off for the return drive. Once home, I made Angel Baby a lunch of two grilled cheese sandwiches with a side of mac and cheese. Not even an hour later, his eye was back to normal, the headache gone. While I was happy he felt like his usual self, I couldn't help but think my day's plan had been ruined.
Then I thought about the drive home, how Hubby and I joked and laughed with one another the entire way. I thought about Angel Baby asleep on the couch when I walked in, him waking enough to offer a small smile. When asked if he'd like a grilled cheese, he gave me that little boy look of raised eyebrows and slightly puckered lips I so seldom get anymore because most of the little boy is gone. He actually has the beginnings of a mustache on his upper lip. After practically inhaling the grilled cheese, he asked for another. While we ate, we snuggled together on the couch and watched an episode of "White Collar." I could feel his heart beating as he leaned into me.
My day's plan hadn't been ruined at all. It simply changed. I'll be able to ride another day, enjoy the fall colors another day, through the years to come. My Angel Baby, though, is very quickly leaving childhood behind. Who knows how many more snuggling opportunities will come my way? So even if he calls from school when I'm over an hour away, riding my bike along a path lined with weeping willows adorned with sparkling lights and unicorns tossing their long, silken mane, asking me to come get him because he's not feeling well, I'm going to do it.