That first hug through the door, that’s the one. Where the pitter-patter of bare feet can be heard scampering across the tile floor of the kitchen, and flying around the corner on little legs that can barely carry the speed comes a boy with a mop of dirty blonde hair and dimples dotting the smile on his cheeks. It’s a celebration, every time, no matter what day, no matter how long you’ve been away, it’s a celebration that you’ve managed to come through the front door once again.
You kneel down so he can bury his face in your chest and your arms go around the torso that is still too small to fully embrace, less you crush him with your own strength. You tousle his hair and say hello and his eyes are all alight. All is well. All is fixed. Pop-pop has come home again.
The pain in your back and in your feet dull. The cold weather digs a little less into your bones. The jacket comes off. The lunchbox is set down, and all the sharp metal things lining your pockets are taken out. The strains of the day are discarded piece by piece.
All that remains, every day, is that mop of hair and those dimpled cheeks. And so, you rise in the morning and manage to do it all over again. And always, it’s that front door you seek.