downside of doggie daycare, if there is one: driving in to find my little darling chocolate Labrador tied to the fence in the corner. means one thing: she was in another fight. hasn't someone somewhere said that Labradors are friendly, if not friendliest? her nemesis today is a little darling chocolate Labrador that looks just like her. well, that wasn't the whole story, as if that wasn't enough: she was tied in the corner because after she was bad as the chocolate industry, she escaped.
over the past 36 years I have picked up my many children from daycare, preschool, kindergarten, primary school, junior high and high school (yes, to their chagrin). I picked them up from after-school sports, from the library, from the downtown Plaza. in other words, I have been schlepping for quite some time. mind you, I don't mind. I always kind of liked seeing them from a distance in their world, and I liked letting that first glimpse be a recognition, like, "Hey, I know him/her!" and letting that recognition turn into a swell of pride, because you know, I have the most beautiful children, brilliant, capable, etc etc etc.
of course there were days when my vehicle filled with tired, crabby and very vocal grumps. did I feel any less proud of them? no. yet there were days when we arrived home and all of us were tired, crabby, hungry and vocally horrible. still, I maintain, it was always fun in a way, to pick them up.
one day I drove to the elementary school with apprehension rising through my bones. I had received a phone call that my 5th grade son had been in a serious fight. have you ever read Tillie Olson's short story, "I Stand Here Ironing"? in a nutshell, I drove the 15 minute drive going over every possible angle starting with a pointed, 'where were the yard-duty people'? I even skipped into my daughter's unjust fight 7 years earlier. seriously, I probably argued for the whole drive with the administration, teachers and staff. regardless, I still had to go inside the building to retrieve my son, who was being suspended for 3 days. he was quiet, and I saw in him a barely discernible relaxing when I walked into the room. after the formalities and paper signing, and picking up his brother, and getting into the car and maneuvering through the crazy parking lot, I said to him gently, "are you all right?"
"I'm not the one crying, am I?"
well, that chocolate Labrador is his, Meat Pie is her name. she has a tendency to hold grudges and to take things into her own teeth. my job is to pick her up.