Monday, January 11, 2010

well, hip, hip, hooray! and don't stumble on the way out, deary

The sky was gray that day, trees sighing with the wind, an overcast and blustery afternoon (rather an unhappy Winds-day, Winnie the Pooh) as my car sped through the trees lining the roads. The clock on my dashboard rolled to 2:58, and I let my fingers slip the volume knob all the way to the right; louder music changes a red light to green, correct? 2 minutes. Three school buses sped past, and the knob was yanked the rest of the way to the right. The light changed colors, and my speed gauge hit 102mph. Just kidding. Mostly. The clock clicked to 2:59, and my phone began to vibrate in the cup holder setting off a few angry dimes: "Mom calling." One minute. “Are you there yet?” No! The neighborhood came into view, and I swung my car onto the final stretch. I spotted a tiny yellow speck in the distance: the race was on. I hit the accelerator as the yellow grew in front of my windshield. As soon as we were shoulder to shoulder, I veered onto the street and jammed on my brakes. One street over, I heard the roar of engines and the screaming of children. 30 seconds. I sprinted up the driveway and behind the gate, grabbed the key underneath the “Alien Attack Center” built the previous evening, and shoved my body through the back door. With one hand, I threw my textbooks on the counter, with the other, I grabbed the cat before he escaped into the cold; together we sprinted to every window to allow the gray of the afternoon to explode into every corner of the house. A whistle sounded, and I checked beneath the newly opened blinds. 10 seconds. I chunked the cat in a corner (Just kidding! Oh, bother.) and calmly opened the front door and waved to the competition, I mean, bus driver as my kid stumbled against the gust of wind and down the steps, backpack in hand.

(But C2 would have understood if I hadn’t made it back in time: I had a doctor’s appointment. He gets it. That one time when his dog pushed past him and out of the garage and down the street and beyond the neighborhood and all the way to Blockbuster he had to sit in the back, seat-belted in with my oxygen tank right next to him. He gets it better than most people. “Your headache-things hurt worse than having a baby, right?” That’s what they say. “Am I going to get them, too?” No, sir. “And I’m not going to have a baby either. Man, I am LUCKY!”)

I watched my kiddo, clad in shorts despite the freezing temperatures (because he “wasn’t cold”; he “wears jeans in the summer”), bounce down the last steps of the bus, mysterious blue container in hand. I closed the glass door and stepped closer to him. He passed in front of the bus and tripped, mysterious blue container flung at my feet. I stifled a scream as the bus engines revved up, my child on the concrete between the two front wheels. As the bus driver and I quickly made eye contact, C2 popped up and scurried into the house. The bus driver’s eyes followed him in, and as her eyes met mine, they spoke every exclamation of horror and relief that crossed our minds in that one moment. She threw up her hands to the sky (or rather, the gum-covered-ceiling) and then smiled and waved good-bye. Who would have guessed when my family moved that she would become one of my few friends on this side of town? I waved back and picked up the blue container C2 had forgotten and jogged inside to be with my kid.

“If the bus had started moving, would you have gotten fired?” Of all the questions…. You wouldn’t have been under there; we wouldn’t have let anything happen to you. He noticed the blue container I had in my hand and unzipped it’s long, slender body. He curled up against the pillows on one side of the couch and gently pulled out the piece of wood he had carefully stored inside. “I only know two notes.” Having already forgotten what occurred just minutes before, he began to play his tribal song for me (and at that volume, I assume, for all of the residences of the little planet we call Earth).

After he finished practicing (his two notes for ten minutes), he took off running, expecting me to keep up. If I stayed under the blanket on my side of the couch as the shadows from the hovering clouds danced across the walls, it would have only been a matter of time before he exasperatedly yelled my name and then attacked me from behind. Hang on, hang on….

"‘Come on!’
"‘Where?’ said Pooh.
"’Anywhere,' said Christopher Robin.
"So they went off together. But wherever they go and whatever happens to them along the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.” (A.A. Milne)

“Green pastures are before me
which I have not seen,
Bright skies will soon be o’er me
Where the dark clouds have been.
My hope I cannot measure,
My path to life is free,
My Savior has been my treasure,
And He will walk with me.” (A.L. Waring)


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