this week is the last week of miss e going to her neighborhood preschool. next month she’ll start at a new bilingual school that is 4 miles from our house. she’s very excited to be starting at a new school. she’s been trying to speak a bit more chinese at home in preparation for her new school. so as we’re down to the last few days at her preschool i’m also feeling a bit sentimental.
there are so many wonderful things about her preschool that i am going to miss, but now reflecting back, the thing i will miss the most are our morning walks to school. miss e’s school is only 8 residential blocks from our house. in the beginning it would take us 20 minutes to get to school. miss e would need to stop and collect leaves, sticks, rocks, feathers, bottle caps…and she wouldn’t walk in a straight line. now we can get to school under 15 minutes. but this past school year our morning walks have been less and less. sometimes d.d. is still sleeping when she needs to get to school, or sometimes d.d. is fussing, ready for a nap, but i can’t put him down until the older child gets to school. so i’ve been driving to school most mornings now. it takes me 3 driving minutes to get to her school.
she used to throw fits when we would be running late and i would suggest that we drive to school (this was way before d.d. was born). it would be like a tug-of-war trying to get her into the car. whenever i asked her if she wanted to walk or to drive she would–without fail–choose to walk even when it was freezing, windy, or pouring rain outside. so we would walk whenever we could. it wasn’t until last summer, when she was older, and could express her feelings better that she told me the reason why she liked walking to school. “we walk and we talk. i like walking and i like talking to you, mama,” she told me that summer morning as we made the turn down the long stretch toward her school. i still remember the location where she said that.
it all made sense.
it wasn’t the actual walking that she enjoyed, it was that when we took our morning walks it would just be the two of us and she had my undivided attention. i wasn’t cooking, i wasn’t doing dishes, i wasn’t doing laundry, i wasn’t on the phone, i wasn’t writing emails. i was with her, without any added agenda. and we would chat about anything and everything. conversation would range from her school friends to her imaginary friends (pooh and peppa pig were frequent subjects). we’d play “i spy” a lot. we’d identify plants and birds, watch the high school’s first period gym class run pass us, pause to watch the garbage truck dump the trash bins, and get scared by the bart train speeding over our heads. if we drove, we wouldn’t get to do any of that, and it would be over in 3 minutes.
d.d.’s morning nap routine these past few weeks has been very on schedule. he gets up around 6am and goes down for his first nap at 9:30/10am. so i’ve been making sure that we get to walk to school in the mornings. there’s only two more days left of walking with mama, because in september baba will drop miss e off at school on his way to work. yesterday both kids rode in our joovy tandem stroller (for the first time without using the car seat attachment), and they giggled the whole way to school.
as i’m writing this i’m seeing how my morning times with the Lord should be more like this–not distracted by the things of the day, just the two of us chatting…maybe for 15-20 minutes. i don’t need to have an agenda, He just tells me what’s on His heart and I tell Him what’s on my heart–real or even the imaginary, i suppose. i should see it more like Father-daughter morning walks than clocking in my required time with God.