I had been waiting for L at the door. I was trying to make the boys be last out the door instead of first, but she never came. After I finally let the boys run to the bus stop, I come inside looking for L. I find her standing with her hood on her head like a cape, holding her lunch and backpack. She looks sad.
"What's wrong? I was waiting for you."
"I know, I don't wanna go to school." I pat her on the head knowingly. I remember not wanting to go to school. Not for any big, earth-shattering reason, but simply because I didn't want to go. It's much like not wanting to clean the house now.
L wanders around the house looking for something. I finally tell her she'd better get going or she will miss the bus. I walk her to the door, which she opens slowly. Then she turns and looks at me, her face screwed up, ready to cry.
"Mom, I think it already came."
Sure enough. No one is at the stop in front of our house. I know why she wants to cry about it. I had to institute a rule that if you miss the bus, you walk.
"I think it's at the one down the street. See those other kids running?" I point at some other kids running for the bus. L turns and runs before I can tell her I love her and that it will be ok. She doesn't see me follow her to the bus stop in my too-short PJ pants. She'd probably be embarrassed anyway.
Part of me wants to climb aboard that bus and give her a big hug and tell her she can stay home and play with me. But another part of me knows she'll be just fine and she may even have a good day. I know she needs to learn that we often have to do things we don't want to do. But the memory of her face: fallen, dejected, and sad, stays with me.