We call it the drop zone.
My boy, Seth, & his carpool pal, Landon, are undoubtedly, without reservation the absolute fastest kids at exiting a car that Zeman Elementary has ever known. They're like paratroopers bailing out the door each morning.
We've got the routine too. En route I check them off. Weather report. Check. Jacket zipped. Check. Hats & mittens. Check. Backpack. Check. Lunchbag. Check.
Their need for speed is not my doing however. Turning into the parking lot each morning I've got to hold them back. "Don't unbuckle yet." The troopers are restless. "One more car." They're leaning to the door. "Wait." Hands on buckles. "We're almost there." We roll into the drop zone & I give the word, "Okay, go!"
Quicker than a Dad can say "Have a nice day!" they've bailed out & are running to class.
The drop zone.
This morning watching Seth run, yes run to class because he wants a good spot in line, a wind swept over me faster than the breeze in a paratroopers face. He's gone. His focus. His mind. They're not on me. I said, "I love you, Buddy," but did he even hear me? He's doing life without me. He doesn't need me right now. He's growing up. Look at him go.
I choked up, but I was already pulling out lest some other Dad berate the silver Saturn driver for being slow.
Just as quickly as the first wind of emotion came another. When he did need me. Yesterday. No reason. No prior plan. Seth says, "Dad, let's play Monopoly." We played for hours. He's shrewd. It was fun, simple, time together. What a joy!
My job, as a Daddy, is to spend as much time with him as I can. It also my job, once I have spent time with him, to free him to run into life on his own.