Every morning Luca, Lincoln and Anna line up at the door, ready for school. Well, not quite ready. I have to remind Lincoln to put on his shoes. Anna forgets where she last saw her sweater, and Luca searches for her homework.
No matter how early we wake the kids, I feel rushed getting them to school on time. This school year I’ve been dropping the kids off at the elementary school on my way to work. Although it’s only a few minutes, I enjoy this time immensely. It’s a great way to start my day.
All three of them are excited for school. Even giddy. I know it won’t always be this way.
Over the past couple of months I’ve noticed Anna is the last to get out of the car at the school. Luca and Lincoln get out first and could wait for their little sister, who started Kindergarten this year. But they don’t. They jump out and run ahead leaving Anna on her own.
And yet I understand why this happens.
Anna is our most vocal and emotional child. She’s also our most upbeat. She wears her emotions for everyone to see. She likes to dance and twirl around the house. She likes to sing. But mostly, she wants to be around her older brother and sister.
But what really irks Luca and Lincoln is the whistling. Luca nor Lincoln can whistle so it’s doubly annoying to them that Anna has no problem whistling songs to popular Nintendo games.
But it still hurts to see Anna walk alone to class each day. Kim and I have ask Luca and Lincoln to keep an eye on their younger sister. I’ve tried gentle reminders as we approach the school. But so far nothing has worked. I don’t want to force the issue though. I know doing so could worsen the situation.
The rain was coming down hard as I pulled up to the school today. I turned on my windshield wipers as fast as they would go, and it still wasn’t enough. All three kids had backpacks full of homework and a lunch. I expected the same pecking order to prevail as I unlocked the door.
Luca reached over the seat to hug me before she left. Lincoln would rather give me a high five so that’s what we did before he jumped out.
That left Anna.
I looked out my window covered in raindrops to see Luca and Lincoln fling their backpack over their shoulders. “Here we go again”, I thought.
“I love you Anna Lynn”, I said as she reached her arm out to hug me. I straighten her glasses that Luca or Lincoln bumped on the way out. She scooted her legs across the seat before dangling them onto the ground. She struggled to stabilize her backpack before reaching back to close the car door.
The rain was really coming down now. My windows were fogged up to the point where I could not see through them. I wiped the windshield with my sleeve before lowering the driver’s side window.
And that’s when I saw them.
I assumed Luca and Lincoln had run ahead like they every morning. Instead I saw three kids standing in the rain. Right next to each other. Lincoln was helping Anna with her backpack while Luca fixed her hood so Anna’s hair wouldn’t get drenched.
As they walked along the sidewalk leading to the school,I sat in my car and watched. Eventually they broke off towards their classrooms.
I could only see Anna’s backpack hanging from her shoulders and her tiny feet hitting every puddle. Yet I have no doubt she had a smile painted across her face.
And she was probably whistling.