Tonight I fell in love with you.
It had been a long day as tourists in a new city, and everyone – including my husband – was tired. But there was one more wine bar I really wanted to check out. I decided to go alone, and then I heard, “I’d like to go with you, Mom.”
I turned to you. My son Leo, age 9.
“Is that okay?” you asked.
Yes, baby. Yes, it was okay.
So you got dressed in the best clothes you brought. Your Dad whispered a few things in your ear. We left the hotel and walked northeast toward the French Quarter. We held hands the whole time. Sometimes we were the only ones on the street. It was dark, and misty, and you talked to me about the architecture and the alleyways, and how you thought the lights made it seem creepy.
But you were brave.
At the restaurant, while we waited for our table, you talked to me about the mural behind the bar. You told me how you’d compliment the painter, and you told me the five reasons why.
Then they led us to our table, a banquette, and you instinctively took the chair so that I had the perspective of the room.
They gave us the wine list and we looked at it together. Immediately you honed in on the rosé section – they aren’t too strong, and they aren’t too soft, you said – and you picked the very bottle I myself would have picked.
The server, though he wasn’t supposed to, brought a glass for you too and he poured you some wine. We toasted. We smelled. We tasted. We laughed.
Then we looked at the menu and decided to share a main dish. You asked me which I preferred, the chicken or the steak. I said the steak because I knew that’s what you preferred. But you said no, Mom, let’s get the chicken, you like it better.
So we did. We ordered the shrimp cocktail in the meantime and you tried it. You were uncertain about it but you tried it. (I love that about you.) Then the cone of pommes frites heading to another table caught your eye. Of that you were certain! We ordered that too. The roast chicken came, and you compared it to what I make at home. I like your skin better, you said.
We ate, and we talked, and we shared. You had a lot to say, and very often you’d end it with, “Don’t you agree?” Sometimes I did, and sometimes I didn’t, but that is how a conversation works. As you know.
And so it went.
After dinner, we held hands again as we walked back to the hotel, and this time we took a better-lit, less creepy route. You noticed the homeless people, and wondered why they come to a big city rather than a smaller town, where people seem nicer and more likely to help.
It’s a good question, a good conversation topic, a good observation.
That’s one reason I fell in love with you tonight, Leo, and I’ll remember it just as well as the others. I am grateful for the person you are now, and for the seeds of the person you are becoming.
I love you, Leo.