Our Privacy/Cookie Policy contains detailed information about the types of cookies & related technology on our site, and some ways to opt out. By using the site, you agree to the uses of cookies and other technology as outlined in our Policy, and to our Terms of Use.


Love Is ... After School Pick-up

Photograph by Getty Images

Preschool pick-up can get pretty chaotic—a flurry of parents herding their children around other children who are dragging backpacks, running after their friends or scurrying to line up by the door. Teachers and college interns and groups of kids collide, with kids laughing over the daily parent-teacher debriefing that’s buzzing around the room (“So-and-So had a great day today!”). And, of course, each new parent is met with tiny voices announcing, “Your mom’s here!”

RELATED: After School Special

Some days my son will spot me, slyly smile to himself, and run off in the other direction because IF YOU CAN’T CATCH ME, I GET TO STAY HERE WITH MY FRIENDS FOREEEVVERRR! Some days he’ll run right over with two still-small arms outstretched for a reunion hug.

But he doesn’t know that I’ve been watching him from the moment I walked in. I saw him over there, standing by his cubby, talking with one of his “buddies” or just getting his things together. I watched his eyes scan the room from mom to mom.

“Are you my mother?” I imagine him thinking each time a new mom comes into his periphery. And no matter how I’m greeted, there’s always this initial moment when his eyes meet mine—the moment he sees me in the crowd—and that moment has turned into something almost sacred.

It’s a message of pure, unassuming love.

I’m sure you’ve seen it, too. You’ll notice it in the boy casually scanning a crowded room during pick-up time. You’ll notice it in the tiny flute player looking out into the audience with wide, searching eyes. You’ll see it at dance recitals and on Little League fields—these tiny humans searching into the void for something familiar, comforting.

And then it clicks.

Watch closely as those eager eyes stop on their “person,” and pay attention to the soft exhale that spreads into a smile. That small sigh is breathing out a message—and if you follow the love line from child to parent, the same message is mirrored back.

It’s a message of pure, unassuming love. In fact, that brief moment can teach us more about love than any poem or fairy tale or grand gesture.

RELATED: A Letter to My 5th Grader

Love is a familiar face in a chaotic crowd.

Love is a reliable compass outside of your comfort zone.

It’s a reference point, a safe place and a source of comfort.

It’s the kind of love that only requires you to show up, to be there. It doesn’t need fanfare or even language; it only needs a connection, a spark, a recognition.

It just needs to be.

We spend our whole lives defining the parameters of love, but maybe it’s much simpler than we realize. It’s right there at school pick-up, as tiny eyes lock with their parents and whisper, “There you are.”

There you are.

Share This on Facebook?

More from kids