Anyway, it’s my distinct pleasure to take him to school on my way to work, then pick him up on my way home. It really is a treat to be alone with him and hear all the thoughts and ideas going through his head.
“Daddy, is Australia that way?” (Points left.)
“Uh, yeah buddy, Australia’s sort of in that direction.”
“Can we go there next year?” (‘Cause everything happens ‘last year’ or ‘next year’ for a 5-year-old.)
“Well, son, Australia’s a long way away. I’d like to wait until you’re a little older.”
“Okay daddy. I love you. There’s a green car! Did you see it daddy?! Did you see it?!”
I really enjoy getting a glimpse of the interesting world inside his head. It rarely makes sense to an adult mind, because imagination and fantasy are beaten out of us long ago in the drudgery of ‘making a living’.
But, sometimes his fantasy world interacts with the real world in unexpected ways.
Last week (no, really last week) I picked him up from school like I usually do, and we went home for a typical evening. As he was getting ready for bed, he noticed that his special stuffed friend, Weezy Waddles, was missing.
Oops! We had taken it to school that morning, because he’s a favorite nap companion, and then forgot to get him before we left. His teacher had wrapped him up in his blankets, so it wasn’t totally my fault.
Now, it’s 8pm and my son is having a meltdown because his best friend is missing.“Daddy, where’s Weezy?”
He stands stock still, paralyzed with dread that his little friend is missing and alone.
“I’m sorry buddy, we must have left him at school.”
“We need to go get him. Let’s go back to school and get him dad!” he pleads.
I apologize and tell him that school is closed now and the doors are locked.
His first thought: “We need to call the police!”
“No, buddy, the police don’t have a key either. But, don’t worry because he’ll be there for you tomorrow.”
At this point, he takes off running out of his room, down the stairs, and all over the first floor. As I walk to the top of the stairs, I see him shoot across the living room from the kitchen at a full sprint.
I quietly yell (you parents know what I mean) for him to stop running and tell me what he’s doing. His sisters are already asleep and I don’t want him waking them up.
He stops running and comes halfway up the stairs to tell me: “I’m looking for the phone.”
“Why are you looking for the phone? There’s no phone down there.”
“We need to call the police, dad. We need to have them get Weezy!”
I finally convinced him there was nothing we could do until the next day, so he settled down and went to bed.
The alarming part? When I told his teacher the next day, she laughed. Then, she told me, “You better be glad you don’t have a landline, ‘cause we taught him how to dial 911.”
Holy cow! Thank goodness for cell phones!
I never want to forget these times. These memories are so important.
But, maybe I’d better tell the teachers at school to warn me when they start teaching my other kids about emergency preparedness…