When I was 11,
my mom helped in the church nursery;
so she knew all the pre-school kids and babies.
When a little guy showed up on the church bus
one Sunday night,
all by himself,
wearing a Superman t-shirt
but no coat in January,
my mom made some phone calls.
A couple days later,
my sister and I made room
for a brown-eyed three-year-old
(who loved matchbox cars)
and a blue-eyed 2nd grader
(his big sister).
Their dad was on active duty,
and their mom walked out.
Their aunt, who had her own kids to feed,
had squeezed them into her place;
but with no money to spare,
everyone felt crowded and hungry.
Mom to the rescue...
If we could help, it was the least we could do.
We weren't rich;
but we had room.
"I have an idea.
Why don't you girls walk home for lunch...
for a few days at least?"
Our school was a block away.
We walked home for lunch every day...
for three months;
until the kids' dad came home from the army.
I didn't think about how much money
by fixing lunch at home.
I just remember walking into our kitchen,
on a school day.
It felt strange.
No kids yelling.
No trays clanking...
just my mom, and someone else's little boy,
waiting for us...
with a hot lunch on the kitchen counter.
Each of us pulled up a bar stool...
my sister, his sister, and me.
For three months, for lunch,
we ate love...
shaped like grilled cheese sandwiches.
(Thank you, Mom, and happy birthday!)