Walking to School with the Kids

We had a special day at the school of The Oppressed and The Boy. We had our annual “Walk to School Day”. Allow me to explain to you why walking to school with the kids is a special event in my town. Sidewalks are few and far between. My neighborhood has no sidewalks at all, and we share the road with cars. It’s fun. Once you get out of my neighborhood, there may or may not be a sidewalk on one side that people walking in both directions can share. New York is a walking city. Some say Boston is a walking city. My city? Not so much.

I walked to school every day from the first grade to the eighth. I went to high school in a different town, so walking would have taken a while and proven a little difficult. When my kids started school, I couldn’t understand how kids couldn’t walk to a school they live so close to, but here we are: Unable to walk to school every day.

Houses in a suburban neighborhood with walkways shoveled after getting 30 inches of snow.
The 30 inches of snow we received. Luckily, some was gone before our walk.

That’s alright. “Walk to School Day” gave me a chance to do something with my younger kids. One, like me, wishes we could do it every day. Another is happy to take a car to and from school. I tell both children we can’t walk to school if everyone doesn’t agree to walk. I don’t like taking the car, but it’s what I can do to keep everyone happy.

The Big Day

So, the day we walk to school finally arrived. Police were stationed at various points to make sure there was some type of demarcation between cars and pedestrians. One of my children had band practice. I carried their instrument for them so they wouldn’t be burdened too much. We made it to school. Hearts beating, blood pumping. Luckily, the day wasn’t as cold as it had been and some of the 30+ inches of snow we got had been cleared enough for us to move our legs. Our children were happy to be at school. The Oppressed was very happy because it meant the walk was over and she was promised we could drive home.

Children and parents in front of school in the morning.
Arriving at school. The end
of an arduous march.

That was fine. I was happy to walk home that morning and get a little more exercise. On the way home, I ran into someone who felt the need to bend my ear about something. I honestly don’t remember what, but they had a lot to say. I guess I forgot to remove the sign from my face that says, “Tell me Your Life Story”.

So, that was our morning walk. I went about my business and did what I needed to do after our morning constitutional. That afternoon, I went to pick up the children. As we were walking away from the building, The Oppressed reminds me I said we were driving home. I reminded her I never said what afternoon that was. You ever see hope leave a child’s face? It’s hilarious. I wish I had a camera. It reminded me of another day.

“A Collection of Short Stories” is now available on Apple Books.

Walk on Frozen Water

Some days you hope your children will make good decisions in their lives. Most days you hope for a better day tomorrow.

We were visiting family one day recently. If you live in Massachusetts, you know the cold weather we’ve been having lately. Bitter cold

We were travelling this past weekend to visit family. Granted, it wasn’t a long drive but I needed a jacket for the very short time we were outside. I’m delicate. One of the children, as I mentioned before, decided they didn’t need a jacket. They took the jacket with them to humor me. Most normal people will bring the jacket with them into the house. I hope this child meets these people someday. I clearly have nothing to teach or offer them.

We visited family that live near the water. We brought lunch with us and everyone caught up while we ate lunch. School is good. Work is good. The family is good. Corona will be over in three weeks. Everyone’s doing good. While we were visiting, the genius that left their jacket in the car needed it. I asked where it was. They said it was in the car. I commended the child for leaving the jacket in such a great place. The car gets unlocked and the child gets their jacket.

Later, one child wanted to go down and feed the ducks that, for whatever reasons they had, didn’t want to go somewhere warm. Another wanted to go with them. A couple of minutes later, one of them return to the house. It seems someone thought it would be a good idea to walk on the frozen water.

Over the river and through… the water.

“What?” I ask. They repeat what happened. The child tried to walk on the ice.

“No, they didn’t,” I said.

“Yes, they did”

“No, they didn’t,” I said. This is my way of telling the children I know they are smarter than this and there is no way they tried something like this.

Soon enough, the second child returns into the house with shoes in their hands and wet socks on their feet. They are leaving tracks on the floor. I remind the child to take off the dripping wet socks and clean up the wet tracks behind them. I also proceed to suspend future decision-making decisions until further notice. We find the child dry socks and, somehow, a dry pair of shoes. We later return from our visit. Everyone has dry feet, clean feet, and dry socks and shoes. A further check shows everyone has their toes and certain people living in our house are still not allowed to make decisions.

Winter Coats for Kids

All five of my children have super powers. Your children may have powers too and, for all I know, our children could share the same super powers.

I have only recently noticed the gifts bestowed upon the Miracles of Christ. These gifts, however, are not present at all hours of the day and night. It is only on certain days and during certain times of day.

One such power/gift is thick, viscous blood that will keep the Miracles of Christ warm during the winter. This is a curious gift possessed by The Boy and one or two of the Gaggle. The Boy will run around the neighborhood with friends sans jacket or any additional layer over his shirt. He doesn’t need it. It’s not cold. It’s winter and the thermometer is near freezing but that is an issue for mortals such as you and I. He doesn’t need it. Unfortunately, this power seems to escape him when he is sent outside to retrieve something he was supposed to put away or bring back into the house with him. At this point, he will need a coat or a sweatshirt, usually something that is tucked away in the back of his closet upstairs in his room. Way back in his closet, under something. It has to be this particular item of clothing or he won’t be able to get warm enough to do a task that would be done faster than the time it takes to put on a jacket or sweatshirt.

Mantle of mortals

And then we have The Gaggle. One of whom goes to work during the winter in pants and a tee shirt. That’s it. Nothing to cover his arms. His reasoning for this is that he is riding to work in a warm car (I run the car so the heat is on. I love my children) and from the car, he is going indoors where he works his shift. There is also the added burden of needing to remember a coat when he is finished work and he may forget it. Then he will be bothered by the fact that his jacket is at work while he is at home. I try to tell him that seeing the weather outside will make him grateful for having a jacket, therefore remembering said jacket. This mnemonic device is useless to him. He’ll just forget it anyway. I will remind him of a jacket when he climbs into the car and shivers off the cold after closing the door. He tells me he’s, “Okay.” I doubt that.

Superheroes need their rest…. Sometimes. The Boy will be up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the morning with his keister parked on the couch watching YouTube. He will be well into a marathon of Roblox or a walkthrough of a video game he is either still trying to master or doesn’t even play. No matter. These digital offerings no doubt provide secrets that will unlock the mysteries of the universe. He will need to wake up hours after this on a normal school day. This is where the mystery of his powers comes in. The ability to get up out of bed on his own eludes him. The ability to just get out of bed eludes him. I wake him up three, four times. Still nothing. He is weak. Feeble. It’s all he can do to get out of his warm bed.

Warm bed. This reminds me of The Oppressed. Another child who can run around with no jacket. Another one who is immune to the whims of fickle Mother Nature. Rain? I don’t need a coat. Cold? Bah! I don’t need to put a jacket on. Time to wake up? I’m cold. Let me stay in bed for five (more like 20) more minutes. If I could just warm up a little (she’s been in bed for eight or nine hours), I will be warm enough to face the day. I direct her attention to the array of warm clothes strewn about her room (We’re still learning how to use a dresser) and remind her that, if she gets dressed, she will be warm and ready for the day. Again, I’m talking out of my butt. What do I know? I know nothing about what a child needs, especially first thing in the morning. I’m making them meals but I don’t know what children need. I’m getting them ready for school but I don’t know what children need. It’s a miracle they’re alive, really.

Children need sleep. We all do. We need it to function everyday. Some need more sleep than others. If people don’t get sleep, they can’t do their job. Sleep helps you recharge your batteries and your super powers. If that’s the case, The Gaggle should be faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive. The Gaggle have been gracing us with their presence around 11 each morning. Brave children. Strong children. Poor, mistreated children. Wife and I have reminded them that school is starting again and they will need to be out of bed before some people are ready to have lunch. Sometimes they do and when they do, they look like someone starting their day in a North Korean labor camp. Why must they be up so early? What is there that could possibly be so important they need to be up in the morning? They need sleep. They have to charge their superpowers. This is cruel.

Superpowers need to be charged. You never know when you will need them and when they could leave you like an angry god or goddess. Speed is one of these superpowers. I sometimes need to remind the Miracles of Christ to wash their hands after using the bathroom. They did. They just did it fast. I didn’t hear water running. Of course not. I don’t have super powers. They need to brush their teeth. They did. They just did it fast. I didn’t hear it because I don’t have super powers. The toothbrush is dry. It dried fast. The toothbrush has super powers. Can I see their teeth. No. They’re busy.

We’re all busy, just not as busy as our superheroes. The superheroes and their powers come in handy everyday. They need their super powers or they will be lost or worse without them. One of The Gaggle sits silently still in front of the PS4 for hours without moving. Ever hear of Medusa? She would turn you to stone. If you sit still like stone, she may think you’re already a statue and pass you by. There he sits, like a ninja, in case the evil goddess passes by and then he sees her and then… Well, I guess super powers only take you so far.

Wife and I are not privy to such powers. We are mere mortals in this landscape of titans and marvels. We get our needed rest, put on a coat when the temperature drops in the winter. Eat a meal when we are hungry. One child with a super power of boundless energy would rather run around the house when it’s time to sit down and eat. Time to go somewhere? He’s tired. Super powers are tricky things.