For 12 years, I’ve known that although I can do a quick run with friends early in the morning or maybe sit down and edit some photos or respond to emails, my day doesn’t really become my own until 9:15am when all kids are off to school.
The daily routine of “the walk” begins around 9am, when Misty comes to me as I am intently working on the computer (or scrolling through Facebook) and patiently sits in front of me to remind me that we need to leave now or we’ll be late and that we MUST not leave her behind.
We’ve walked in sunshine, in rain, in wind that blew school papers and made us walk backwards. We’ve walked in snow, jumping over ice patches, and in through tunnels of sidewalk after some of the major blizzards. I’ve been dressed for meetings, dressed in yoga clothes, or running clothes, or making a pathetic attempt to hide the fact that I was still wearing what I wore to bed. In every state of preparedness for the walk, we’ve become a regular fixture, with cars beeping and people waving (I recognize most of whom wave and beep, but wave no matter what, because I know I know them!) Sometimes, a friend will pull over and we will catch up on our lives and I feel connected to the great community my kids are growing up in.
There is no reason that my youngest, who is 12 years old, couldn’t walk to school by himself, but I’ve walked with him because my dog insists on it. And because she’s so good at that pathetic stare, he doesn’t argue or act too “cool” to walk with mom. It’s even therapeutic, if the morning didn’t go so well, he has the dog to run with and play with for a few blocks, to settle himself down and be the last contact of home before a day of school. Chase, himself has done the walk since birth, being born when my oldest was in kindergarten, he was carried, pushed in a stroller, and then toddled along with me until he was old enough to actually step into the building.
The routine ends this week, as my youngest graduates from 6th grade and my life of elementary school ends. It’s sad for me – even gaining an extra hour of quiet, empty house every morning.
I’ll be OK, more time to devote to my photography business, but I do feel sad for Misty. It’s hard to break such an established routine. So, if you see a golden retriever walking herself the few blocks to school, you’ll know why.