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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Runner

We strolled leisurely on this unseasonably warm morning,
Trey and I.
The air was still and heavy with the promise of the rain to come later this afternoon.
Leaves crunched in a staccato explosion under every footstep.

We were nearing the end of the street, right on schedule,
when Trey casually commented "My backpack feels so LIGHT and BOUNCY this morning!"

Alarm bells rang in my head.

"Trey, did you put your Expand-a-file in your backpack? I told you yesterday to get it from the family room and pack it up!"

I am already reaching for the backpack zipper, but I knew the answer before I had even begun.
The Expand-a-file, with the completed homework, was still at home.

"Aw, Trey!" I muttered.
After all, we had missed the bus yesterday morning too.
THAT time, however, the fault had been all mine.
I had insisted on making my morning mug of coffee before we left.
We arrived at the stop just in time to see the bus merrily driving around the corner.

"Run and go get it! Maybe you'll make it back in time!" I suggested hopefully.
He took off, full tilt, while I lagged behind.
There was no possible way he would make it; the bus was due momentarily.

I watched him speed down the street, his pace lagging at about the three-quarter mark.
Our kids are many great things but distance runners they are not.
I hollered helpful and encouraging comments from my post midway up the court.

"You can do it!" "Go Trey GO!"
and eventually
He slammed into the house and mere seconds later was slamming back out again.
Surprised that the bus had not already come and gone,
I amped up the motivation:
"Look at YOU! You are like an OLYMPIC RUNNER!
GO FOR THE GOOOOLD!" I shrieked.

I must have sounded like a total loon,
but at this point I could taste the prize- he might make the bus!
I might not have to drive him in my jammies and slippers,
with my unwashed, unbrushed hair waving like a banner from my crown.

I could hear the squeal of brakes: the bus was at the stop a mere half block away.

"RUUUNN! IT'S HERE!!" I hollered as the beleaguered child rushed past me,
with his now-heavier backpack thumping him between the shoulder blades with every stride.
His eyes were wide, the whites flashing.
I do believe I saw his tongue hanging out of his mouth as he neared the corner,
just as the bus pulled up to the stop.

I watched him cross and clamber much more slowly than usual up the steps of the bus.
I waved and laughed aloud as I watched the bus pull away;
thinking that he will certainly be more likely to stay in his seat at school today,
from pure exhaustion!

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