Tender Moments 

  On a crisp, late autumn morning, a mother and her son walk through the woods; soaking up the last drops of fall, before the chill of winter arrives. 

  While they walk, they listen to the fallen leaves crunch under their feet & the birds coo their last calls before flying south. The mother smiles as the boy jumps into every single puddle that comes along the path; testing out his new rain boots & scaring away the wildlife with his infectious laughter.

  As they near the bridge that goes over the brook, the mother reaches down to hold her son’s hand.

“Your hands are ice cold!” The mother exclaims in concern. “Let me blow on them.”

  The child looks at her curiously, then surrenders his hands to his mother. 

  She cups his tiny fingers and blows on them. The boy giggles as her warm breath tickles his palms.

“Here, you can have my mittens. They’re a little bit big, but they’ll keep you warm. Then you can put your hands in my pockets too.” The mother sweetly muses with a grin. 

  The son reaches up and lets his mother slip the oversized mittens onto his bare hands; his petite fingers drowning in all of the extra room. 

  They begin walking across the bridge & the mother takes her son’s hand and holds it inside her pocket. The child smiles as he feels the warmth & tenderness of his mother’s grasp. He stops & looks up at her thoughtfully, with the bright color of his caring eyes popping against his rosy, cold-flushed cheeks. 

“I love you, mommy.” The boy says in an innocent, yet serious tone.

  The mother stares down at him & a single tear falls from her eye.

 “I love you too, darlin’. So much.” She responds.

  He puts his arms in the air motioning her to hug him. She picks him up and he nestles his face into the collar of her jacket, then kisses her cheek. 

  They walk away singing a familiar tune that they sing every morning on their walks together & they crunch the leaves to the rhythm of the song.