Today was a gift.
We all woke up happy and mostly healthy. It was sunny, but not blisteringly hot, and there was a bit of that edgy September morning chill. I made Arlo oatmeal and Eli drank a glass of milk and I had coffee and wrote in my journal out on the porch. I had remembered to move the chair cushion last night so it wouldn’t get wet from the sprinkler that goes off every morning at four o’clock. It’s taken me all summer to remember to do that.
“Can you play Monopoly?” Eli asked me while I was packing lunches.
“I’m packing your lunch,” I replied.
“Am I going to SCHOOL TODAY?” he asked.
“ALL DAY! FINALLY!” he said.
Also that’s as many words as he’s uttered at one time since last Sunday.
At 8:45 we got backpacks on and walked to school. My tank top was a bit optimistic, a bit more yesterday’s weather but it was a refreshing walk. We were caught up to by the neighbour kid and his mom and we walked companionably to school, the mom and I talking about resort vacations and the kids talking about whatever they talk about. Minecraft, poop, Lego.
The bell rang and Arlo went off to his classroom. I walked Eli to the kindergarten door and gave him a hug. “Bye,” he said. Parents were hanging around the door, peeking in the window, but I resisted the urge and walked away. Back down the hill, alone, carrying nothing but my keys.
It was 9:05 and I had five blessed solitary hours stretched ahead of me like an empty road. This was it, the moment I’d been waiting for for five years. Five years of spending all day every day with two small children and here we are, down to none. Not even a cat to bug me. (sniff)
I went for a run. I came home. I showered and stretched and folded some clothes and put them away. I made myself a smoothie out of a banana, some blueberries, some pineapple coconut water and the remains of my morning coffee. It tasted vaguely like a fruit mocha and was not as horrible as it might sound. I read things on the Internet. I tweeted. I went to Safeway and the liquor store and the vegetable market. I had lunch and read some more things on the Internet. I washed dishes and free-wrote for ten minutes and ate black licorice and did a load of laundry.
I walked in a most leisurely fashion back to the school and at 2:00 the door opened and Eli came out. He pulled his spare underwear out of his backpack, put it on his head and ran around the kindergarten playground with a few other kids. Then we hung out in the big playground for a while, because the big kids didn’t get out of school until 3:00. He found a cool caterpillar and played with two boys from his class.
After the bell, and Arlo joined us, we stayed at the school and played until nearly five o’clock. The weather returned from warm to September chill and I had trouble finding sunny spots to stand in. Two parent friends and I stood around and chatted while the kids played the kind of game you store in your head as a rebuttal for when people say kids don’t know how to play any more. Something about leaves as money and other leaves as taxes. There was robbery and tax evasion and restitution paid.
Reluctantly, we came home, had ice cream, then dinner, then more ice cream and now I’m having beer, and I want to say Thank You Friday, for being the day I spent this whole week wishing I could have.