I started working from home about three months ago, which means I’m generally the one standing at the end of the driveway when Clay’s bus pulls up across the street around 3:20 each afternoon. Nearly every day, he bursts off that little yellow bus and crosses toward me in a series of small leaps and skips, a broad smile lighting up his face. He holds his backpack in his left hand for me to take, runs his hand along my shirt to feel the texture, then bounds up the driveway, down the path and in the backdoor in the same hop, skip and jump fashion. My heart fills up just watching him.
Five minutes later, when I’m “tidying up” in the bathroom (Clay’s aim needs a little work), picking up his shorts and underwear and trying to get him to stand still long enough to get dressed again while he flings himself up and down on his bed, the glow of his grand school bus hello starts to fade. About 15 minutes later, he is jumping and squealing like it is all new when I read him Frog and Toad are Friends for the five hundredth time. The glow is back. Thirty minutes later, when I’m sweeping up the entire bag of chips he spilled on the floor or putting all my socks back in the drawer (he dumps them at least a couple times every day), the glow has hit the driveway, tires squealing, and is headed at top speed for the nearest interstate. Then, he’ll tap out a little tune with his fingers on my head when I’m putting his shoes on or hand me the oven mitt even though he knows his french fries are not ready yet, and it is back. Then it fades. Then it is back. I try, but everyday is a challenge.
We can always start fresh tomorrow afternoon at 3:20.