9.16.2009

I Have A Job, I'm A Kid Walker


I used to walk dogs for a living. I had a few dogs (mostly golden retrievers) who let me clip them to my leash and together we would go exploring for thirty minutes at a time, five days a week. On their owners' occasional weekends away we would bunker down together and watch movies and share popcorn and then snuggle in for the night. Those weekend sleepovers made me a rich woman, but even better, they were a chance for me to play make believe that I had a dog of my very own.

I think about that different lifetime with fondness now but at the time it was all anxiety, all anticipation, all get-to-the-next-phase-in-a-hurry. I think about that time now because as much as I've grown and changed and as much as life has handed me a bushel of lemons with which I've made delicious lemonade (and I have two dogs now), I find myself once again in a similar engagement.

Today I am out in my walker clothes. Chucks, jeans, striped sweater, wind blown hair. I walk up the way and across the street to the elementary school on F and then I wait.

Maggie arrives, backpack stuffed and face flushed from a full day's learning. She waves at me with excitement and I feel myself grinning. She lets me take her hand and we walk to her after-school daycare, a half a mile away.

We talk about her school and her friends and her cats and her trip to Taiwan in May, where she got to pick up a baby sister and where the spaghetti looked like regular spaghetti but didn't taste at all like regular spaghetti. We dodge older kids on bicycles and look both ways at the crosswalks while she goes on about all of the tricks she learned in gymnastics and I am suddenly aware that once again I am floating far away into the sparkly playground of Let's Pretend.

Let's Pretend she is my eight-year-old.

Let's Pretend I can take her home.

Let's Pretend I can make her dinner, help her with homework, read her stories before bed.

I drop her off and wave at those in charge and then make my way home. I watch the track team warm up and wonder whether my eight-year-old will be into music like me or into sports like the husband. I wonder who she looks like, and will she let me do her hair or will she stubbornly refuse a brush in the morning? I'm pretty sure already, sight unseen, that I like her a whole lot.

But, you know, time, and all that.

Until then, I will walk her to school, and I will pretend with my whole heart.

5 comments :

  1. I didn't know you were the new Maggie Chauffeur, good for you! She's such a sweet kid.

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  2. Isn't it funny about those "get-to-the-next-phase-in-a-hurry" parts of our lives? At the time, there's so much anxiety...and now when you look back, you wish you'd have just enjoyed the moment more.
    Karen

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  3. LOVE this post. LOVE it.

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  4. Very poetic, in a beautiful-sad way.

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  5. Lace - it is so the best job on the planet, second only to if someone paid me for sleeping.

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