Working from home certainly has its advantages — a 30-second commute, showering every other day, afternoon naps, etc. But the one benefit I never expected was being able to walk my daughter and niece to and from school every day.
We only live a few blocks from their school, so unless it’s pouring down rain or we’re in the midst of yet another polar vortex, walking just makes sense. But of course you can’t just send a couple first graders off to fend for themselves (at least that’s what my wife tells me). So yours truly gets to play chaperone.
I should point out that during our daily walk there is very little actual walking. I don’t know how much time you’ve spent around first graders, but a nice leisurely stroll isn’t in their nature. They prefer to skip, run, hop — basically anything but walk. It’s exhausting just watching them.
Every day it’s pretty much the same story: As soon as we step out the front door, both girls — each as cute as a button in their Catholic school uniform — grab my hands and start dragging me down the block. Meanwhile I’m still waiting for that first cup of coffee to kick in.
“Let’s skip, Uncle Val!” says my niece.
“Yeah!” says my daughter. “And sing ‘We’re Off to See the Wizard’ again!”
That part is my doing, actually. I don’t know what it is, but there’s just something about the act of skipping that puts me right smack on the Yellow Brick Road. (Cut me some slack—I grew up with two sisters.) Of course, once you do something that your kids enjoy — i.e., skipping down the street to a song from a musical — you better get used to doing it over, and over…and over again.
Each time we come to a street crossing, “The Rule”, according to the girls, is that I have to sprint across the street and pull them along with me. They love this. It always gets them giggling and screaming way too loud for 8 o’clock in the morning.
All the way to school there’s more running and jumping and giggling and skipping. The skipping in particular always draws befuddled looks from the other parents driving by. I mean, you’d think they’d never seen a grown man skipping down the street before.
Finally we arrive at school, and I give each of them a kiss and a hug as they make their way into the building. Then I make the return journey back to my house, which, now that I am sans kids, is much more leisurely and far less conspicuous. Six and a half hours later I return for the pick-up, and we get to repeat the entire process, only this time in reverse. It’s basically the only exercise I get all day.
Just think: If I hadn’t quit my full-time job and set out on my own, I never would have been able to work in my underwear. And, oh yeah, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to walk my girls to school and back every day and experience all the wonderful silliness that goes along with it. Sure, my masculinity has probably taken a hit, with all the public skipping and everything. But that’s OK. The girls think I’m funny, and that’s all that really matters.
Let’s just see how funny they think it is when they’re 13 and I’m still right there, skipping alongside.~
Copyright © 2014 Valentine J. Brkich