One task I have every morning, Monday through Friday, is to see my granddaughters off to school. Doesn't that sound fun? My very own little cupie-pies, rosy cheeked, sparkling eyes and the attention span of a gnat.
Let me explain. It's a bit of a time-warp thing. My daughter was a dawdler in her younger years and the gene that lacks time management skills is so deeply a part of her, it sizzles in stereo with her daughters.
To great credit to my daughter, she sees they are dressed, hair done and eating breakfast by the time she leaves for work. My job is simply to walk dirty dishes to the sink, and get the girls on the bus. It sounds so simple. So innocent.
But putting on their snowpants becomes a swim fest on the hardwood floors in the foyer. Then, Corbin Dallas, my cat, decides it's time to play with two pairs of mittens. He attacks them and stalks off with one or two dangling from his mouth as if he's a great lion just capturing his breakfast. The girls love Corbin and swim after him, sometimes scooting across the living room carpet to slide across the dining room floor to reach him. Okay, they only did that once, and Grammie (that's me) hollered that the bus was coming. A small lie in the great scheme of things.
Every morning it's different yet so familiar it feels like a rerun of I Love Lucy. The hat from the bin must be replaced with another because that one doesn't go over pony-tails. Those mittens are too hard to get on for recess, but the others will get wet and so begins the great debate which mittens to wear. Somebody needs to poke their head out the window to see if the bus is coming and putting on boots with snowpants has never been an easy task, no matter what age one is. And Grammie's fingers don't work so well in the early morning, and once again we forgot and put our mittens on before we zipped our coat and "Grammie, will you do it?"
I've been told by my daughter not to baby the girls. Hmmm. But the bus is coming. I can see the big yellow barge up on the highway. We have less than one minute before it pulls up in front of our house. If we run we'll make it. I zip the coat.
We shuffle outside, Corbin Dallas sneaks out with the mitten still hanging from his mouth. Leigh-lu, the family dog, sniffs and patters everywhere at once as we trip down the steps. The bus is now flashing yellow lights, meaning it's approaching a stop and all beware the confusion that will soon ensue.
I hug each of the girls, realize Alex is not feeling as round as a snowman and discover she is backpack-less. She realizes it about the same time. "I have cold lunch today, Grammie!" Of course she does. The flashing lights are zooming closer, but have yet to turn red. So off I go - sprinting, shuffling in my slip-ons, mumbling that I should be so silly as not to wear proper footing when racing back for said backpack. Corbin Dallas beats me into the house, the mitten no longer in sight. I'll worry about that later.
The backpack used to be a soft purple with Tinkerbell on it. It now has a gray smudged look and Tink is in desperate need of a bath. But I'm used to the look because that's what happens to children's belongings when trudged to and from a bus every day. I sprint back to the drive, wave at Alex who's jumping up and down as if saying she wished I'd hurry. I nod. Yes, Grammie is hustling as fast as her stiff knees will allow. I feel like an olympic runner passing the baton to the next racer. Alex grabs the bag, I reach to hug her, but it's fumbled. She hollers, "Love you, Grammie!!" And with boots scuffling across the pavement, she climbs into the gaping doors of the bus. Barb, the bus driver, smiles and waves and I do the same. The bus pulls out and I sigh, another deadline met without -, without -, well, I beat the clock again today.
As I shuffle back to the house, I realize meeting any deadline is a hassle. My writing deadlines are met with a flurry of fuss and last minute changes too. Many times something important is forgotten and I have to shuffle through papers and files to find it.
I guess life is just messy. And meeting deadlines, whether it's the school bus or a manuscript to the editor, complications will abound. Wherever two or more gather ... chaos is the spice waiting to give it flavor. And that makes ordinary stories memorable.
Til next time ~
PS: Mark your calendar: Feb. 7th, 7-9:00 pm at the Barnes & Noble, 20600 N. Rand Road, Deer Park: DL Larson, Margot Justes and Morgan Mandell will be at the book signing. Join Us!!