Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Piece of Me

Just a dad getting his kids off to school, one cold winter morning. Written January 9th, 2004.

This morning was quite unusual for me. I saw my children off to school.

I'm going to be 38 years old later this month, I've had kids for over a decade now, and although I used to pick them up at daycare and drop them off at school a few years ago in an extremely awkward arrangement made necessary by my schedule, for the past few years they've been taken to school either by their mother or by our more recent daycare provider. My wife and I both work, and it will come as no surprise to anyone who works and has kids that daycare is an extremely difficult proposition these days. Should the United States ever start caring about its people enough to provide health care for everyone, quality universal daycare would be a noble secondary goal that would probably send productivity through the roof. But I digress.

I took today off because we had no other daycare options, and I have marginally more time off coming to me at the moment than my wife -- and someone needed to get the kids to school. As I say, this is the first time in a few years now that I have done the entire rigmarole, from waking 'em up to getting 'em to the school door and everything in between. In between, of course, is breakfast.

Dad made scrambled eggs and toast, and although he was tempted to make the turkey bacon sitting in the fridge, that seemed like too much work -- protein for this early in the day.

Dad did dress up the eggs with a little bit of real cheddar cheese that we were gifted with by someone who considers Swiss Colony a viable holiday offering. Well, whatever, the cheese was good and made the eggs a little above-average. Who the hell eats orange marmalade, though? Gack.

After breakfast the kids played videogames on their X-Mas Gamecube and Dad took the latest shower he's had in years. I usually have to be out the door and on the way to work well before dawn, but waiting until quarter of eight seemed positively decadent. In a way, it was, because before I knew it, we were actually running a bit late.

We started the car -- which didn't want to start, since the temperature is somewhere around zero right now -- and while we waited for it to warm up my daughter drank a juice-box thing of some sort and my son made explosion sound effects. He's eight. It's amazing how little it takes to entertain yourself at that age.

Eventually the heat started working and the window began defrosting and since I now had three minutes to get the kids to the door, we were on our way, hardly breaking any traffic laws at all. Almost none!

Right at the time my wife told me to have them at the curb, we were there. The street in front of the school seemed less busy than I remembered it being when I used to bring them to school every day (wow, that was nearly five years ago now) -- but with temps in the single digits, loitering is really not a viable entertainment option for me or my fellow parents.

Hugs and kisses were doled out -- they're at the nice age where they not only don't mind, but actually want affection from their parents -- and off they went to a day full of spelling tests and other assorted learning, and hopefully a recess or two. They work hard, they deserve it.