Following the Leader
The boy who misses school on his holiday goes to bed early on the night of said holiday, in happy anticipation of "school tomorrow!".
Boy wakes up at 4.30am. Knowing he's got "school today!" he remains cheerful and peaceful through an early (very very early) breakfast; goes over the date and day and the fact that he got up early "in writing"; dozes off on the couch around 7am; groggily gets into the car at 8.15am; looks puzzled but not stricken about the CD player being potentially broken; endures waiting 15 minutes to make a right turn due to road work.
Entirely understandable that he got frustrated when he's doing an exercise at school and one of the materials breaks. Fuzzy-headedness brought on by lack of sleep can do that.
Altogether charming when, after he gets out of the white car on getting home, he turns to his mother with a smile and says "let's walk." She figures on a 15 minute jaunt.
Charlie has decided on the 4 1/2 mile walk past the home of (nowhere to be seen) Nemesis Dog. He's grinning, running sprints, looking back at his (rather fuzzy-headed—that 4.30am wake-up business) mother.
Turning the corner onto a certain busy main street, Charlie starts to moan. And cry. And weep. And howl. And louder, and more stricken, and more distressed, all while walking.
The street goes from suburban to mid-size chain stores and five lanes of traffic. This 4 1/2 miler is really a bike route that Charlie has done over and over with his dad—does it suddenly hit him, what am I doing here with mom and without my bike and where is dad?
Through the back parking lot of a large chain gym, towards the fated bridge which crosses over a semi-industrial area of warehouses, rental storage space, a service road. We ascend the bridge and Charlie gets off the curb—he's in bike mode, you can't bike on that mud and those mangled weeds—and I know he should be on the curb as he is walking but he really is In Distress and this situation needs to be gotten through, however we can, preferably without bangs, bumps, or bites. Down the bridge—some guy on a bike looking at a us—we turn onto a street of houses.
Charlie stops crying and walks home light on his feet and easy as anything.
He goes to sit on the couch and wants to use the computer. We make a grocery store run, bake brownies, get his lunchbox ready, pack his swim suit and a towel (pool day tomorrow at school). He wants a shower and takes himself to bed, asking me to bring up his blue bookbag.
"Give, give Mom." I hear Charlie's voice clear as a bell: I had thought he was asleep and go to his room. He is asleep—was talking while in slumberland. (While dreaming?)
It's one year ago that Obama was inaugurated as the President of the United States. I try to ignore the interesting thrums in my head and write about the President's track record on disability policy. I know, perfect topic to address in a public forum on 3 hours of sleep.
I am mindful that tomorrow, I mean today, is the first day of Spring semester classes at my college. Fortunately I'm teaching my old warhouse, Elementary Latin, which I've bragged I could teach at midnight, at any time of the day if I could. And I certainly had time on those 4 1/2 miles to plan out a class or two, and review my knowledge of the Roman emperors and how they consolidated the frontiers of their territory.
Since Charlie was leading the way, I didn't have to worry about where we were going.