My second grader climbs out of the car each morning and runs down the carpool line. Sometimes shoelaces untied. Sometimes his backpack still open, snack on the verge of spilling onto the sidewalk. Eager to crash into a friend before class starts.
At the end of the day, as I wait in carpool line again, I watch him race across the field – “it’s my shortcut” as if it were his own secret route – and back down the sidewalk to the open door of the minivan. Sometimes shoes untied. Sometimes yelling at other second graders as he passes. “Bye!” He is as eager to come home as he was to arrive at school.
When they were in lower school, our older two boys used to walk the carpool line morning and afternoon slowly, separately. They would get out of the car and after a quick hug, head into school, rarely waiting for their brother to finish his hug and catch up. It was as if they didn’t know each other.
But now, as the little one sprints across his shortcut, taunting his buddies, his brothers walk together. Slowly. They talk all the way down the line, sharing bits of their day, complaints about homework, feats achieved in gym. Since they look nothing alike, one might mistake them for best friends.
And every 8am and 3pm, that scene makes me happy.