Thursday, August 25, 2005

It Could Be Worse

August 24, 2005
10:55 AM

The first day of (pre)school
always brings excitement to
my little boy.

So many things have not been
what they ought to have been for him,
even at the tender age of not-quite-five.

Yet at this stage, he is largely unaware,
at least consciously,
and so he grins and laughs
and asks me when the bus will come.

I wonder if he thinks of daddy this morning.
So many things have not been
what they ought to have been for him.

It could be worse.
As it is,
he'll talk to daddy tonight before bed.

But right now, he's more concerned
with Bus number Thirty-Two,
and as he runs to board, he trips
on his baseball shoes-
the ones he was so excited to wear
on this first day of school.

Tender little palms meet pavement;
tender little eyes begin to weep
and panic over blood that isn't even flowing
because this morning simply isn't going
the way it ought to have gone for him.

But it could be worse.
Luckily, this sweet little boy's mom
understands that tears will flow
for many reasons all at once,
and though it could be worse,
it's bad enough for him
right now.

So we skip the bus,
go back home and read
his favorite book,
then walk to school
hand in hand.

And I show him the secret passage
leading to many a magical place,
and not least of all
to his first day of school
which might still unfold
the way it ought to unfold for him.

I ask for a hug and a kiss;
he barely turns, smiling,
hesitates, and says no,
then runs to his class,
whole and wholly delighted
(and delightful),
bruises and scraped palms forgotten...

I'm late for work,
but it could be worse.

And sometimes I think
it couldn't possibly be better,
as I walk home alone,

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George MacDonald

"Home is ever so far away in the palm of your hand, and how to get there it is of no use to tell you. But you will get there; you must get there; you have to get there. Everybody who is not at home, has to go home."

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