40% of Team Steinkellner Walk to School

1 Jun

Emma and I drive down about halfway to school and park near the Montecito Coffee Shop. We start walking towards school. She talks about how one day when she is 20, she’ll have a limo dropping her off everywhere. When we get to the railing along the offices on the other side East Valley Road she walks them like a “tight rope”. (Or maybe she says “type rope” which is what we called it when I was a kid.) She doesn’t waver a bit. Doesn’t even do that arm flurry thing to keep her balance.

On the flat part where Mrs. Hammer, (her ex-kindergarten teacher) lives she clutches my arm for no reason. As firm as a bride on the arm of her father.

We walk past the sign that tells handicapped people to turn back at this point. Emma is talking about her past or the future. I can’t remember but it doesn’t matter. It’s just fun to listen to Emma. Like reading Mark Twain or watching Magic throw a full court bounce pass.

Maybe the discussion is about the girl up ahead who looks tall enough to be in high school but is only in fifth grade. Or whether Emma is going to walk through the soccer field or the sidewalk along the fence, when she walks alone. She chooses the sidewalk.

And now it is time for her to walk alone. So, she does. With less ceremony than opening a door.

I walk the other way pretending to be walking back to the car. I sneak glances back.

She walks along with a bounce that is half girl and half young woman. I watch her all the way until she is around the curve near the bike rack. (We had talked about how many kids were riding their bikes to school this year.)

She walks away into the day. Like someone walking onto a jet into the future.

And I walk back to the car. It is hard to see because my eyes are a little watery. It is one of those times when your whole past bursts into your eyes. Bye-bye baby.

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6 Responses to “40% of Team Steinkellner Walk to School”

  1. Adeline June 1, 2012 at 3:57 PM #

    This feels very true. Like I did it myself! Love.

  2. Grant Harvey June 1, 2012 at 4:19 PM #

    :] awwwwwww

  3. Jonathan Stark June 1, 2012 at 4:29 PM #

    Don’t I know that feeling.

  4. jbrown3079 June 1, 2012 at 5:02 PM #

    I remember helping my son take all the stuff a kid needs for his first day of school.
    A blink of the eye later and yesterday I was helping him book a hotel room for his first grown up vacation.
    Sounds like you are on the right path. Noticing the changes as they happen.
    That is the beauty and heartache of being a parent.

  5. Martha June 9, 2012 at 7:38 PM #

    Takes talent to get the feeling springing from the heart to turn through the brain and flow out through the fingers in such an economic and evocative way. A few words from one parental heart intercepted by another parental heart results in tears of knowing.

  6. starshine June 24, 2012 at 8:39 PM #

    Oof! So touching! So brilliantly balancing on that sweet spot between cynicism and schmaltz. I love this.

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