With Intent

Did his facial expression betray his words?

When he said, Good, he wasn’t smiling, and I detected a slight shrug.

He followed up with, “She’s in daycare now.”

How does somebody feel when dropping their three month old baby at a child care center?

Let’s back up to my kitchen, shall we….

While packing lunch this morning I said to Henri, “Let’s get our timing right today. I’ve got to find out the name of that baby!”

We left at 7:42.
The bus arrives at 7:50.
Just enough time to say Hello to the kids as they hop out of warm cars and climb the forest green stairs of the yellow bus.

Our timing was slightly off because Henri sniffed out a twenty dollar bill in a snow bank.

No kidding! Must I buy dog treats and toys with it?

It took me a half minute to free green Jackson from his hiding spot—enough time that Henri and I were still two houses away from the corner as kids made their way to the kid carrier with its Stop sign extended into the middle of the road.

“Hi Olivia!” I called.
She waved her six-year-old, mitten clad hand at us.
I’m certain she’s more taken with Henrietta than me.

A gray mini-van zipped past and stopped. Its side door slid open and two hatted blondies hopped out and made their way to their second morning ride. Everybody rushing!

“Good morning,” I called to the kids.
I waved to the bus driver and hurried over to Olivia’s dad.
He obliged when I motioned for him to open his SUV’s window.

“Oh my gosh! It’s been so long since our paths have crossed,” I said. “I have got to ask you a question…it’s been bothering me since before Christmas!”

Good thing I had my hat on and he couldn’t see my wild, unwashed hair. He might have had visions of Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

“What is your baby’s name? I can’t remember and it’s been driving me crazy!”

“Payton (Peyton?),” he said with a smile.

“How is she doing?” I asked.

“Good,” he said. “She’s in daycare now. My wife is back at school full time.”

“Does she teach?”

“Yeah—eighth grade English for MPS.”

MPS set off little alarm bells in my head. I conjured a vague image of Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds. Milwaukee Public Schools do not have a great reputation.
And…I figure his wife at best has a 30-40 minute commute each way during peak traffic time.

There is no secret about where my perceptions stem from.
In contrast, I chose to be a stay at home mom.
Are you aware of the forests in which your beliefs grew?

“She drops Payton off on her way in and picks her up on the way home. She’s only teaching her second year, but doesn’t want to look for something closer. She’s got an emotional attachment to the school…thinks she can really help the kids.”

“That gave me chills!” I said. “So good to see you! I look forward to Olivia’s smiling face and her little voice calling Good Morning to Henrietta—we need to dawdle less in the morning!”

Henri and I went on our way and as we walked I thought about….

urban schools,
the human spirit,
and how we might write different stories.

When my son was born I received a book titled Children Learn What They Live.

Isn’t that true for all ages?

It’s been a while since I shared an Anthony De Mello Meditation. This one fits perfectly here:

To explain that what most people seek is not the joy of awareness and activity but the comfort of love and approval, the master told of his youngest daughter, who demanded that he read from a book of fairy tales before she went to sleep each night.

One day he hit upon the idea of tape-recording the stories. the little girl learned to manage the recorder. All went well for some days till one evening she thrust the storybook at her father.

“Now darling,” said the Master, “you know how to turn on the recorder.”

“Yes,” was the reply, “but I can’t sit on its lap.”