Most mornings, I get up with my daughter, or more accurately, I wake her up. We have our little morning rituals---I turn on her lamp (or this time of the year, open her shade), pick her up and take her downstairs (something I might not be able to do for much longer). I turn on the TV and let her wake up slowly---she's not the morning person I am. Usually, there's a good deal of whining and moaning, stalling and kvetching. This morning, though, she was up and ready to go. Today, her family was coming to see her in a school play, and she had memorized her lines and just about everyone else's. When I dropped her at school, there was no hesitation, just a quick "Bye, Daddy" and a leap out of the car.
The play was, of course, cute, and her mother signed her out from school afterward citing "fun" as a reason. We ate lunch together at a local deli and then I got on the road to Grand Rapids, a town I've driven by but never visited.
Driving across Michigan in the spring is, it turns out, quite nice. After passing through the remainder of my own metropolitan area, a typical Midwestern countryside opened up, with tractors in the fields, horses grazing, large windowless pig farms (at least I think that's what they were) and occasional auto-related factories sprouting out of the otherwise bucolic landscape. The diversity of farmsteads that I could see from the highway was fascinating. Some were large complexes with many metal silos and huge John Deere machines turning up dust. Others were a farmhouse and a shed on a couple of acres with a tractor pulling a plow. They were all beautiful.
And then I arrived in Grand Rapids. Michigan isn't a state with a lot of navigable rivers, being an old sea basin, but the riverfront here is beautiful, with well-kept pedestrian walks, gentle rapids, occasional fishermen, and some sort of prolifically-breeding spring insect.
All this is giving me a nice bit of distraction before my conference presentation tomorrow which I might otherwise be worrying over obsessively.
Before pulling out of the driveway, I told my kiddo I'd Skype her tonight. Her surprised smile was the best part of the day.
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Thanks, Pal. One of these posts is exactly what I needed today.
"Fun" is the best possible reason.
It's great that you are spending timne with your wee Pal.
Enjoy her all the time. Mine are grown: one married, one in college.
As long as you're in the vicinity, head on out to Grand Haven. Walk the boardwalk to the breakwall, and all the way out to the lighthouse. While you're there, take a stroll on the beach at the state park and stick your toes in Lake Michigan. Make sure you stop at the little ice cream place along the boardwalk to buy your daughter a cone. It's a great way to spend an afternoon.
Oh, Grand Rapids! I was there a million years ago, probably between Ice Ages or something. Yell out a big hello to my friend Andee, who lives there. I haven't seen her in just under a million years, but I still think fondly of her. You'll know it's her if you see a tall beautiful Scandinavian-looking woman accompanied by a few beautifully groomed collies.
I'm impressed that the school would accept "fun" as a reason. Sounds like an enlightened school to go with the great parents. Enjoy!