Summer is slow to die in the Bay Area this year, Autumn is creeping in rather than jumping boldly onto the scene, both feet forward. The air tonight is balmy even though the sun is setting earlier and earlier. There’s that hint of smoke and chill in the air that presages the shift in the weather, but tonight the overwhelming scent was that of flowers and warmth as Victor and I walked hand-in-hand down the street to get dinner.

We’d spent the day having dim sum with a friend and driving around Chinatown and North Beach, leaving Sebastien and Julien tuckered out upon our return home. Vic was hungry, so I suggested that Sabs go tuck up into bed with a sleeping Jules while Vic and I went out for food.

We set off for the Wendy’s around the corner, talking quietly as we walked, Vic telling me all about the new shirt I bought him today when he soaked his clothes at the beach just off of Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s a white shirt, with a shark on it saying “Bite Me”. Given how spunky Vic is, it seemed appropriate. His tale about the shirt was more engaging though. He told me that the shark had come home from outside to his shirt. “He lives in the white now,” said Vic and he smiled, patting the picture fondly.

He slipped his little hand into mine, fingers curling into place not too tight, not too loose, just comfortable, palm warm. He swung our joined hands to and fro a little and hummed gaily as we passed the apartment complex next door, the smells of cooking and sounds of TV being watched, cleaning up taking place rising up into the summery air. At the corner, the scent of olive oil from the Italian restaurant took over and Vic looked up at my solemnly to say “We’re not eating there? Are we?”

I answered with a “No” and asked Vic if he’d rather have nuggets or a sandwich to eat. Wendy’s and a kid’s meal with a toy was my objective rather than pasta and olive oil though I prefer the latter. In line, he hung onto my hand, then onto the side of the railing that organizes the queue, talking to another little boy wearing a sports shirt and a diaper. When it was our turn, he marched right up to the lady and boldly declared: “I want nuggets, and chicken and cheese and a pot dog! And fries! …. Please!” She laughed and asked me what we wanted and I gave her the rest of the order.

With paper bags of food in hand, we headed out the door to sit at the little patio alongside the restaurant, picnic tables standing under a canopy of green, the plants long since trained to grow over the trellis, thick trunks at the base of each twisting upward and over. I don’t think much rain would even make it through.

We sat there, Vic and I, sharing fries and a Frosty and trading drinks, laughing and talking about not much, jamming a little to the music that came over the loudspeaker.

This is what I always imagined as the best part of being a parent, the little moments where you’re together, having a good time, no pressure, no fuss.

We’ve had a tough two years Vic and I, between the harder parts of his toddlerhood and the arrival of his little brother, we’ve been a little astray.

Tonight though we reconnected as we have been in little stolen moments over the past few weeks. Mommy and Vic time that reminds me of what a cool little person my son is.

It’s in the sparkle in his eyes as he breaks a french fry in two, dips it solemnly in our Frosty, then sticks one piece in his mouth, the other in mine, and laughs for the sheer joy of sharing his food.