Someday Mark will go to school.
(Moment of sad silence.)
Yesterday he was invited by Geri--who works at a middle school--to go on a field trip with the sixth graders to the Boeing factory. Mark and I were both excited about the trip. Mark because he likes that kind of thing and his grandpa worked at Boeing and it meant a day of no math or grammar. I was excited because like I told Geri, any interest Mark has in Boeing works toward my not so secret plan that Mark work at Boeing someday and live near me always.
Mark got all ready for the trip and told me he was taking a book "to read on the bus." I told him he wouldn't need it because the bus ride was going to be 10 minutes at the most. I felt a brief moment of triumph though. Turning Mark into a tote-along-a-book-for-the-road-reader has been a hard fought battle but I have won! My boy loves to read.
He was uncharacteristically quiet as we got to the school. I asked him if he was nervous. He said, "A little." I was a little nervous too. I had given him a talking to about manners and not embarrassing his grandma who had gone to extra effort for him to be included on the trip. Sometimes he's still a three year old in my mind. A three year old with no impulse control that got kicked out of the IKEA playland every time we went.
"You have to stay by Grandma," I cautioned, "You can't run around."
He assured me he'd be good.
A group of kids was lined up to board the bus. They were all Mark-sized. I forget he's a big kid. Also I noticed he was not just the only red head, he appeared to be the only Caucasian in the group.
I knew he would be easy to keep track of; he wouldn't get lost.
On the drive home, I called my dad. I had this unscheduled freedom that was both foreign and elating. He chided me for not watching the news--the right news (right in more ways than one). In my defense, the only thing on the radio around here is Seahawks related. We had a nice chat.
Hours stretched in front of me in a silent house. I alternated my to do list with 30 minute spurts of writing.
My mom called (she hadn't been home when I called earlier). "You're home alone?!?" she said, "How sad--but maybe a little nice."
And it was, both sad and nice. On the one hand, I ate a quiet and solitary lunch but on the other hand, I got first pick of the leftovers. Someday this will be it. My children will have flown the coop. I hope to teach school when that happens, otherwise the silent house may overwhelm me.
I picked Mark up at the appointed time and he threw his arms around me. How delightful. He chattered on about 777s and 787s and 767s and his personal favorite the 747-8. He loved it. He loved the planes. He loved telling me about the factory and the contest they had building and flying gliders. He loved that his team won. He loved that his grandma gave part of her lunch to him so he had his lunch plus. He seemed ambivalent about the other kids, they didn't matter to him as much as the airplanes.
Here are some pictures Geri texted me:
I was so happy to get my boy back that I took him for frozen yogurt on the way home--it wasn't really on the way home but since we had to stop by the library too it was kind of on the way home.
Someday Mark will go to school.
Thankfully that day isn't here yet.