Little Cuter described herself as transportation. We volunteered at an after-school program for elementary school kids who found her to be a delightful way to cross the classroom. Their feet would have taken them, but riding on her back or her shoulders or grasping her leg as she dragged them was much more fun.
Today, I'm sitting in Amster's dining room, waiting for her boys to get off the bus and into my car for the errands they must run. Amster's at work and I, retired and in love with her kids, get to be their transportation. Just as with Little Cuter and Bahia Vista's care program, it's a win-win situation.
There's something very comforting to me about this time of day. I can't start a big project; the kids are on their way. I can't run a quick errand; there has to be a grown up to meet them here. The house seems to know that they are coming home; there's an expectant comfort in the air.
G'ma was usually home when I arrived at the end of the school day, at least when I was very young and my siblings even younger. I clearly remember the afternoon I was alone, all alone, for hours. Homework was finished and the dishwasher was emptied and I wandered around my room and the public spaces of our home, lonely and desperate to talk to someone. G'ma and my sister eventually returned, dinner was put on the table, and, from the depths of his bedroom emerged my brother. My brother, who had been home the whole time I'd been talking – aloud – to myself and begging for a response.
I asked him why he hadn't replied to my “Hello, nobodies!”, why he hadn't come out and spent time with me? “I had nothing to say.” That's my brother, in a nutshell.
Once I became a parent, this hour before the kids came home was my sacred time. I treasured the last moments of quiet, of solitude, of my own issues and no one else's. With TBG at work, my home was my own for those brief periods. I could crank up the music and dance foolishly across the wooden floors, slipping and sliding in my socks, with no one to laugh at me. I could call my girlfriends and moan and groan without worrying that little, prying, ears would overhear. This was my space to gird myself for the full onslaught of parenting which was soon to be dismissed from school.
When I drove carpool, I'd get to the line much earlier than anyone else. I'd roll down the windows and close my eyes, mistress of the 20 minute power nap, The kids loved to be the first to the car, frightening me awake with tickles or tossed acorns or a screeched “HI MOM!!!” It makes me smile to think about it.
Now, I've opened the garage door and checked out the kitchen cabinets and counters for snacks. I know where we are going once we've had our bathroom break. Until they get off the bus a little before 2pm, I'm going to revisit that power nap. Writing about it has made me sleepy.......