“Didn’t you know school’s cancelled for today?”
My sons’ backpacks sit alone by the door. My car is the only one in the parking lot. Biff and Bash ask yet again where the other kids are, why can’t they say hi to Mrs. L., why can’t they stay…and I’m wondering all these same things inside, but outside I say, “No, I thought, you know, since they had three days off last week, they had school this week.”
“Oh, never for parent-teacher conferences,” Mrs. A., says with a wave of her hand and a doughy grin. She’s the shape of a cupcake, and just as sweet–Bash adores her, which has helped make the shift to a new school all the smoother. But out of two months, the boys have only had three full weeks of school. There’s always been something to cancel pre-school: screenings, conferences, in-service. For all the teachers’ talk about routine and structure, how on earth is a kid supposed to know that structure if his school can’t function for more than a week at a time?
I could go on. I was ready to go on then, but another parent had come for conferences. I had to figure out what the hell to do with two little guys who didn’t want to leave. The playground was still wet from rain earlier that morning, the air chilly. But by the look of them running up and down the halls, locking them indoors was out of the question. So:
I take them down the path I visited alone just a few weeks ago. It was a peaceful refuge then.
Now, not so much.
“Mommy, I can give the forest raspberries!”
Yes, I suppose so, Biff.
Bash takes a break from his hunt for caterpillars and wooly bears. I try to tell him it was too cold, but he would not be daunted.
Keeping up with these two is nigh impossible, and there isn’t much for color…
But I remembered my foolish disappointment from cloudy days before. Even in these days, where autumn wraps itself in a mourning shroud, I find life.
Even in the days we have no control, the days where writing time is all but forgotten, there is life. There is life with the little ones who imagine worlds all their own…
“Mommy, this is where we go up!”
Up where, Bash?
“Up into the trees! We’ll walk into the sky!”
Biff is skeptical.
Yet there it is: a story. We could sit and tell a tale of a boy who walked the trees into the sky, who found his wooly bears and caterpillars, who helped them become the rainbow butterflies of dreams.
We could sit. And talk.
Or we could explore and see what else awaits us round the bend.
It is such a day as this, filled with raspberries, chilled fingers, and leaf-covered suckers, that remind us the no-writing time is just as important as the writing time.
Never squander it.