Tuesday, November 28, 2006

days without a map

I woke my boy up a bit early today, just in case it took us a while to head down the hill to the bus. In case it was a bit icy, as was predicted. He dutifully slurped down his oatmeal, after drawing a picture in his class "Birthday Book". His teacher sends home a bag of 4 sweet birthday books, plus another book with blank pages, so the birthday kid can draw a picture of his favorite story. Nice idea, right? But as I thought about it, it meant that the kid had a birthday and was given MORE homework. (This is kindergarten, so the homework is pretty easy, but still, the volume is daunting for a six year old). Anyhoo, I digress.

We tromp down the hill, careful to avoid anything remotely "icy" looking, but there isn't anything. Not that the roads are dry, but they aren't slippery either. We get to the stop, I peer down the street, and see... nothing. No kids. Damn, we missed it. Back up the hill, grab my purse to get my keys and drive him to school. The car doesn't start, so I get my portable charger (in my front seat - I'm always ready for this because it happens a lot, and eventually I'll get it taken care of, but not until they mail us a copy of our extended warranty, because we can't find it after our move last spring).
Sorry. Another digression. I used to be able to sustain a thought, but parenting pretty much shortcircuited my brain, so now it's free to roam.

Back to the story: The car starts, we wait long enough for the windows to clear, which is pretty quick. We drive the half mile to school, and there it is. The big yellow sign in the turn around. "No AM Kindergarten today". What the...? So I drive home, with my son squealing like a happy little pig in the backseat, because this means he gets to play with trains ALL DAY. Well not all day - he'll have to come with me to the gynecologist while I get my exam. Yeah. That should be fun. For everyone involved.

I call the school, still under the impression that this was a posted "no AM kindergarten" that just wasn't on my calendar. It turns out that no, they just didn't have it because of the weather. WHAT WEATHER? Of course they know better than I do, they've dealt with this weather longer than I have, but I still have to wonder...

Oh, wait. As I write this, I look out my window and see BIG FAT FLAKES coming down, drifting gently into our backyard, settling on the hood of the red plastic car that my boy is now too big to drive. Is this cosmic, or what. When I start to feel smug, like I know what's what, I'm shown, gently, that I don't. Joe-Henry just came downstairs and said "Mom, I guess they DO know about when there shouldn't be school". Not chiding me, just reminding me, sweetly, that I only THINK I'm in control.

Hopefully, I'll make it to my doctor's appointment, son in tow. He'll have a backpack full of quiet toys, and he'll charm the staff in the waiting room (he's amazingly patient and great company), and I'll be there in another room. Tense, my feet in the air, hoping to make it home before it snows anymore. Or I won't make it there at all, roads being too "icy" to travel in the first place.

These days never turn out like we think they will, do they? That's the gift of parenting. You can have as many maps as you think are necessary, but in the end, you'll wind up travelling an unknown road. It can freak you out if you let it, or you can take a deep breath, and keep your eyes on the road you choose, open to the new adventure. Who knows - maybe you'll wind up somewhere warm.