// i //
“Baby c’mon! I gotta take you to grandma,” Valerie whined as she tried to get her son changed.
The little boy giggled at his mother's struggle and she couldn’t fight back a smile. This was her little bundle of joy; she couldn’t believe he was already one. He just had to be a summer baby.
At least he gets a piñata every year, the mother thought to herself.
When Val was finally done getting her son dressed, she grabbed the boy’s batman book pack and her purse. As they walked out of the apartment, the mother held her son’s hand and made their way to grandma’s.
Without bothering to knock on the door, Valerie made her way into her mom’s house. “Ma! I’m here!”
“Where’s my baby boy?” The grandma sweet talked. Liam ran, tried to at least, to his grandma with the biggest smile on his face and open arms. Of course he fell on his way, but his grandma picked him up immediately and kissed his forehead.
“I have to get to work. I should be back by six the latest. Is that ok, mom?”
“Go on. Liam Valentin and I will be just fine,” the mother reassured her daughter.
“Bye baby!” She quickly kissed her son on the cheek.
The boy happily waved at his mom and she smiled once more at him before she finally left.
Work was going by incredibly slow today. One would think being a legal assistant would have you busy at all times but nope, not today. There sat Val at her desk, browsing the randomest shit on google.
So glad I’ll be leaving in two hours, Valerie thought as she huffed.
She looked at the clock and sighed drastically. I feel like it’s been 3:30 for two hours. Why the heck is it so dead today? She heard the elevator door bing open and looked up to see her boss coming back from his late lunch.
“Val, you can go home early today. Tt’s gonna be this way for the rest of the day,” Mark said, as he walked past her desk.
“Oh no I don’t,” she stood up immediately and followed him into his office. “Mark, I did not leave my son with my mother just to be sent home early. Plus, I need the full check.”
“Hey, you know you can leave little Liam at the daycare here free of charge.” Her boss shot back.
“Funny. I talked to my aunt a couple floors up and she says they’ve always charged,” the mother crossed her arms at him.
Mark smiled innocently, “Oops.”
“Exactly,” she rolled my eyes and sat on the couch in Mark’s office.
“You know I’m only trying to help,” he frowned a bit and sat beside her.
“I know Mark, but it wouldn’t be fair to the other mothers here.”
“I know,” he pouted.
“Why can’t we just make it free?” Val asked.
“Not a bad idea to be honest.”
“This company can afford it,” she chuckled.
“What else has your aunt told you?” Mark squinted his eyes at her.
“Well it looks like I’m gonna take you up on that offer and go home early,” Valerie smiled big and stood up from the couch.
Mark rolled his eyes and stood up too. “Do you need a ride?”
“Nah, I’ll just get an Uber," she waved him off. Val prepared immediately for his scolding.
“You really need to learn how to drive, Valerie.” Mark scolded his assistant.
“Yeah, yeah, story of my life.” Valerie waved him off again. “Tell Emily I said hello.”
Mark smiled, “I will. Let’s set up a play date soon for our boys.”
“That sounds great. See you tomorrow, Marky.” She kissed his cheek and walked herself out.
Val ordered an Uber and picked up around her desk as she waited. As soon as she heard her phone bing, she shut down her computer and grabbed her belongings. On her way out, Val’s only thoughts were what would dinner consist of tonight.
I’m craving something cheesy, Valerie thought.
Val thanked her Uber driver once she arrived to her destination. She walked into her mom’s place and saw Liam sitting on the floor with the cartoons playing on the tv.
“Hi baby,” Valerie smiled at him. The mother bent down and picked him up. “Ma, ya llegue!” She announced herself to her mom.
“You’re early!” Valerie’s mother yelled from the kitchen.
“Dead at work. Mark let me come home,” Val carried Liam with her to the kitchen. Val’s mom was cooking dinner.
It smells so good, Valerie pouted internally.
“How is he? Wife? Kid?” Her mother asked.
“He’s great I guess. Jack is still a cutie. Emily is nicer than ever.”
“That’s good,” she smiled. “Want to stay for dinner?”
“Aw maybe tomorrow, ma. I told the girls I’d cook today,” Val pouted.
“Bueno pues, I’ll set some aside for your lunch tomorrow.”
“I love you,” she kissed her mother’s cheek.
“I love you too, now get going before it gets dark. I don’t want you walking out there alone with Liam.” Valerie’s mother said urgently.
“Yes I know,” Val said as she put Liam’s jacket on. “Where’s his book pack?”
“It’s hanging by the door. Be careful and text me when you get home.”
“Gotcha! Bye, ma. Say bye to grandma, Liam.” The little boy smiled and waved at his grandma. Valerie kissed her mother’s cheek one more time and left.
As Val made her way home with her son, she could only think about how grateful she is. She had lived at home for half the pregnancy due to complications the young mother faced for some time. Valerie had a good place to live in and amazing people to live with, but her mother insisted at the time. The amount of support she’s gotten since the news of baby Liam has been impeccable.
“Mama,” Valerie heard the baby boy speak. She looked at him and smiled. Liam smiled back and hugged his mom around her neck.
The mother envied her kid. Liam is a ball of sunshine. He’s always smiling and he must have gotten that from his dad because the lord knows he didn’t get it from her.
The thought of Liam’s dad suddenly turned Val’s smile into a frown.
I never wanted this for Liam, the mother thought. Liam deserves a dad and that’s the one thing Valerie failed to give him. The mother felt tears form around her eyes, but quickly wiped them away. She kissed Liam’s cheek and held him tight.
This little boy deserves the world.