I had the opportunity to be the "Mystery Reader" for Sweet Pea's kindergarten class.
At the appointed date and time, her teacher met me outside the classroom and told me to wait for her to count to three before I made my entrance.
When I walked into the classroom, about 20 little cross-legged kids all looked at me hopefully before realizing I wasn't "their" mystery reader. My eyes searched out Sweet Pea in the small crowd. When she realized it was me, she popped up and ran at me, jumping up on me with her enthusiastic greeting. It looked to me like she was almost going to cry.
The teacher instructed me to sit down in the rocking chair, while all the kids shifted around to see the book. I was a bit nervous and did my best to push that aside and read slowly, with inflection, making sure the kids were able to see the pictures. Whenever I looked up and saw the grin on Sweet Pea's little face, I just had to smile in response.
The book was barely finished when Sweet Pea was in my lap, holidng the book, posing for the customary "Mystery Reader" photo. All too soon, it was time for me to go. I was surprised to find that I wanted to stay.
As I was leaving Sweet Pea's room, I glanced into the school library and saw Punkin. She waved at me and I walked over to her to get a great, big hug. Since I was in no hurry to leave, I spent a couple of minutes helping her pick out a couple of library books. A couple more hugs and kisses and it was time for me to go.
I was smiling as I climbed into the externally flameless Mommyvan, feeling happy, light, a thousand times better than I felt when I arrived at the school. I did my best to carry that feeling with me for the rest of the day. The smile that was plastered on my heart, and the grin that was stuck to my face -- that was the best I was ever going to feel.