It is 3:47 and I am absolutely NOT watching the clock.
I am helping a friend at a bookstore while The Boy is at the pool, and the clock on the wall is in no ways causing me any stress. It would be foolish, after all, to be concerned about something which is still 30 minutes away and which I have convinced myself is really 45 minutes away. It is 3:49 now
The Boy is going to ride his bike from camp to the store, and there is no way that my brain is conjuring all of the worst case scenarios.
It is 3:52. Why is time moving so slowly?
This morning, I locked The Boy’s bike up at camp. We had gone over the route many times over the past couple days. He seemed eager and I gave him a jaunty wave as I left him there, backpack, bike helmet, lunch and that fragile body.
I slowed leaving the parking lot. He was introducing himself to some kids, they were laughing at a joke and I as always, I wondered if he was laughing as well because he GOT it or because THEY were laughing.
(Did the clock just go backwards?)
The pool closes at 4:00 pm. If history is any judge, he will be the last person out. Then he will take forever changing from his bathing suit into his street clothes So he’ll leave around 4:10 maybe? In twelve more minutes.
It is an easy one mile from the pool to the store. I did it a million times when I was his age. But surely I was more aware, more grown up than he is now? There weren’t as many cars on the road then, right? I pick up my phone and press 9-1- ready to put in the last digit if he is not here at 4:30 on the dot!!
My heart is racing. How do I explain this lack of parenting oversight to my wife? my parents? the in-laws?
Someone is talking to me, obviously unaware that if I move my eyes from the clock for a second, all will be lost! Life as I know it will be…
There is the soft clunk of his helmet as he swings it against the door. It is 4:15. He is not a stain on the road. He has not been abducted. He did not get lost and end up in Canada.
“Hey buddy, how was the ride?”
“Great!” He is preening with pride, reveling in this longed for freedom. This boy, who can’t remember a name and had a melt down about gnats is glowing in a new light of independence.
My heart slows and I hug him.
“I’m proud of you buddy! I knew you could do it!”