Everything I Need to Know

Eli’s been going to kindergarten for a few weeks now, and it’s about to kill me. It’s my job to take him to school, which involves me getting up earlier than I’m used to. Once upon a time I was a morning person, but then I became an adult and discovered that I could stay up stupid late reading or playing videogames, at which point my early morning leaps out of bed became a thing of the past.

Not now–at least for the “getting out of bed” part. The leaping has been replaced by me hitting snooze at least once before rolling stiffly out of bed. Each morning I calculate how many days are left before Eli can drive himself to school.

Eli loves school. Class is fun. Recess is fun. The bus ride home is fun, even if there are the two “mean girls” on there. “Why are they mean?” I asked him.

“They said I was bossy,” Eli replied. Go figure.

The whole exercise emphasizes how much he’s changed. Sometime when I wasn’t looking he became a long, lanky boy, all elbows and knees and enthusiasm. Our morning routine is set. We pile into my car, him with his backpack that’s nearly as large as he is, me with my travel mug of decaf coffee. On the way we listen to “Shut Your Eyes” or Spoon’s “song about dogs”. When we pull into the car riders’ line, he takes off his seat belt and puts his backpack on. I see him grinning at me in the rearview mirror. The teacher signals all-clear and he’s out the door, barely able to stop and give me a goodbye hug before he tucks his head down and pelts into the school. He runs forward into the future, while I drive off into history.