Thursday, February 12, 2015

At the End of a Driveway

I was walking home the other day and noticed a little boy standing at the end of his driveway.  His head was down and his shoulders slumped sadly.  Just as soon as I saw him there, a car whipped around the corner, screeched to a halt in front of him, and he scrambled in.  The car was gone again before I could really think.  So I thought about it the rest of the way home.

The first bell at the elementary school had already rung, so I can see why they were in such a hurry.  But the house was a scant block away from the school, so it's not like it was a long distance to go.  Laughing to myself, I imagined the hectic morning that must have erupted at that house.  I can imagine it well because we've had mornings like that.  Someone had a science fair project to finish up, or forgot to do their math homework, or we couldn't find the library book that was due today or there were no socks in my drawer or we were all slow this morning or Mom just got up late...  Yeah, it happens.

I suppose either breakfast got done too late or someone needed to take a large item to show and tell, so Mom barked at everyone to get in the van and we'd drive instead of walking - NOW!  The kids climbed in and they drove off, leaving one boy still in the bathroom.  By the time he flushed and came out, the house was quiet.  Mom?  Mom?  But there was no response.  Slowly, dejectedly, he collected his now-finished math paper from the counter strewn with breakfast dishes and crumpled it into his backpack.  He fished his jacket out of the closet and started the lonely walk to school.

Meanwhile, the harried mother pulled up the the school curb in a plume of hurry, kissed her daughter - trying vainly to smooth her wild hair -  while telling the son to hurry and get to class.  Son?  Dear?  She turned around in her seat and realized that she left a child at home.  There might have been some muttering through clenched teeth as she whipped back home, hoping to find everything ok, chastising herself along the way.  We've all had those really bad mother moments.

I chuckled to myself as I walked home, and said a silent prayer that the mother would find peace in the rest of her day, and that the son would manage to feel loved and important.  Those fluke things happen, and we pick ourselves up, dust off, laugh a little, and go on.

But a couple of days later, I saw the same boy standing at the end of the driveway.  His head was down and his shoulders slumped sadly.  This time, there was no one there and he stood alone, waiting.  My mother-heart aches for him.

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