|Lucy, 2014 & Jarod, 2005|
It’s been a while since I was at something that made me think, Kraig’s missing this. Today it happened at Lucy’s Kindergarten Spring Sing as I watched my adorable little princess looking so grown up as she sang with the other littles. It was only yesterday I watched Jarod do a Kindergarten graduation wasn’t it? Today I took him to lunch to celebrate surviving his Freshman year. Surviving seemed the right word.
When the thought hit me the tears rose, unbidden, and I struggled to keep my smile in place as I wiped them away. I was in the front row and Lucy could see me. Her brow furrowed a bit in the middle of “B-I-N-G-O.” This was no time for grief. Get out of here, I thought.
This week I will attend ceremonies to see my Kindergartener turn into a First Grader; my Sixth Grader into a Seventh; and my Eighth Grader into a Freshman. They dispose of such silliness in high school until the big enchilada. I settled for a Mom & Me date to Z’mareks (one of Jarod’s favorites) to celebrate the end of the worst Freshman year EVER.
In stepped Jim. Jim is married to my friend and mentor, Deb, and dad to one of my dearest friends, Chelsea. With his calm manner and his gentle Texas drawl, it’s no wonder Jim has often stepped up to mentor young men through his life. Jim heard about my scheduling problem and offered to drive Jarod to school every morning until the year ended or Jarod got his driver’s license. He told Chelsea it would be nice for Jarod to have another man in his life if he needed to talk.
Jim doesn’t work or live anywhere near us. His home is nestled in the hills on the outskirts of the west side of town. His office is on the west side of town. We live on the north side and Jarod’s school is downtown. Jim goes in early to his office and during the morning rush it was probably 15-20 minutes to get here from there. But every morning, in rain or shine or snow (and oh my word did that include a lot of snow this year), Jim showed up outside my door with a smile to drive my eldest son to school. He took a good 30-50 minutes out of his morning to help me and get to know Jarod.
He’d arrive each morning with a smile and take a moment to teach our dog to sit and not jump on him. He’d give me a fatherly hug and a kiss on the cheek and ask how I was today, looking into my face to see the answer as well as hear it. If he could see it wasn’t a good day he’d assure me it would get better. If I could only muster an “ok,” he’d assure me in his gentle Texas drawl, “That’s alright. Ok’s better’n not.”
In a few days Jarod will try for his driver’s permit and next year the plan is for him to drive both Ryan and himself to school while I drive the girls from our new house. Another chapter that might be closing is on this house if I can find a buyer. I’ve found the new house. Now we wait for this one to move.
Life will go on. And I will number these days and try to count every moment before I’m taking her to lunch after her freshman year.
Today we laughed. We hiked. We climbed until Mom either couldn’t keep up or demanded for safety-sake they come back to earth. We fed prairie dogs and played “what do you see in that cloud” on a long drive.
Today was a good day.
I had been ordered back to bed by my daughters, insisting they were making me breakfast in bed even though I’d been up for an hour. I played along. I’d never had breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day before. I felt a lot like I’d stumbled into Downton Abbey. The only difference may have been my bedroom in no way gave the appearance of my having a cleaning staff.
Since the girls knew they’d need to finish final preparations for my “surprise,” they laid out my cell phone and iPad on the night stand so that I’d have plenty to entertain me while I waited. It was cute.