This is the first school year both of my kids go to schools within walking distance of our home. My son, a 6th grader, walks himself, which leaves me free to walk my 3rd grade daughter to school every day.
This 10 to 15 minute interlude has become my daily touchstone.
Until recently, my experience of the kids’ school years has been colored by trauma. My daughter’s relatively straightforward school experience has been overshadowed by my sons’ struggles. It’s a pattern that ran through her early years, I’m afraid. While Luke’s needs screamed at their highest pitch, the low hum of Mimi’s subtle wisdom sometimes went unheard. We give our children everything we possibly can. I dearly hope Mimi got what she needed during that time.
But those days are over. I hear her loud and clear. We walk to school, and we talk. We notice when the spring bulbs poke through the saturated soil. We rescue waterlogged earthworms. We watch the endless parade of neighborhood home improvement projects. We scold the litterers and dog owners who fail to clean up after their pets. We laugh as we sprint to beat the tardy bell. In between, there’s plenty of time to listen to that soft, sweet, steady hum of a girl who’s finding her way in the world.
Music to my ears.
My daughter’s old enough to walk the five blocks to school by herself, but I’m thankful she doesn’t want to just yet.
Luke and Mimi are my kids’ Internet names. I keep their actual names out of my writing mainly to hold their search engine spots open. When future employers and love interests Google their names, I want the results to be stuff they’ve created, not me.