During the school year, we decided to let Chase walk half way home from school all by himself. He was dying to walk all the way home, but Craig was opposed. He felt like “something might happen” in our rough and tumble planned community. I wanted to take a chance, because the proposition of stuffing two tired and screaming girls into the van, yet again, can make a mama brave. But in these scenarios our policy is that the more cautious parent wins, even if the more cautious parent is at work twenty miles away. Which, incidentally but conveniently, is just out of ear shot of my screaming girls. We are presently revising our policy.
Each day I’d pile the girls in the van, drive halfway to the school (500 yards) and sit in the van on the side of the road listening to my precious girls think of ridiculous things about which to get disgusted with each other. The kindness revolution has not penetrated the walls of my mini-van or home. My girls fight like it is their job. Like someone is actually paying them to NEVER STOP FIGHTING. No hoodies for them.
So every afternoon I’d sit in the front seat, mentally block out the girls, and watch for Chase in my rear view mirror. And every time he’d come into view, I’d feel a little amazed. It’s so strange to watch your child when he doesn’t know you’re watching him, when he’s in his element. Because you think . . . he has an element? He leads a life that has nothing to do with me? A life in which people say things to him and he says things back with no guidance or explanation from me? Look at those legs…they work! I made that person and he’s just walking about as if unattached to me!
Every day I’d feel like Gepetto….watching this thing I made come to life before my eyes.
He’s alive! He moves! Amazing!
I don’t think he’s gonna stay in my arms anymore, now that he has this life of his own.
It’s all so magical but a little heartbreaking, too.
After a while I noticed that Chase was always walking to the van alone. There’d be a group of kids in front of him, walking and laughing – and a group of kids behind him, walking and laughing. But he’d be on his own. All alone. Each day. Oh, God.
Something deep inside me told me not to bring it up to him. He’s fine, that soul voice said, this is your issue, not his. Don’t pry. Don’t kick open all his private doors or he’ll start locking them. Wait for him to invite you in.
So I didn’t say a word to him, but I worried. Every afternoon. Every single afternoon.
Oh Jesus. Let him get caught smoking in the boys’ room. Let him fail social studies. Let him get punched on the playground . . . But please don’t let him be lonely.
A few weeks ago I was flipping through an old notebook and I found this:
When I walk
out of the classroom,
away from any other souls,
close to beautiful nature
all by myself
I roam around
of anything that shall bother or disturb me.
I take a deep sniff
of the snow scented, fresh air
and I think.
I think about
anything that will happen
prepare for it.
this is my moment
The kids are all right, Lovies.
Our little Pinocchios are going to be just fine. They’ve got the whole world in their little hands.
So find a moment of silence for yourself today. Deep Sniffs, Lovies. Just take a moment to roam free.
Love, G and C