I attempted this week what many parents have probably only dreamed of doing. I tried, unnsuccessfully, to return my child to school a day early from his Christmas break.
It was a typical fire drill of a morning, the morning after New Year's Day. I prodded Declan out the door and swore to him for the 500th time he would never again watch morning cartoons until after he was ready for school.
Following a short but careful drive over icy streets, I pulled up to the back of his school. It looked as it does any other morning when i am running late, the back gate was open, sidewalk shoveled clear of snow and a few parked vehicles were in the south parking lot. I drove around to the front of the building and parked, hustling Declan out of the car and up the front steps.
We walked into the entryway and as usual could see the two office ladies through the glass window, busily working at their desks. I opened the inner door to the school office and gave Declan a quick kiss goodbye as he made his way in.
I turned to leave but only made it a couple of steps before I noticed both secretaries waving their hands in an effort to get my attention.
"No school today!" I heard one of them yell through the glass, adding that classes renewed tomorrow.
I was, of course, just a little embarrased. Declan thought it was hilarious, perhaps glad his Christmas break wasn't quite over yet, but he also seemed to simply enjoy the surprise of the moment.
He giggled and mumbled all the way back to the car with a giant smile on his face, "I thought we had school and then I was like, no school today Dad!" he exclaimed with a giant grin and joyous chuckle.
His response, although a bit of a foreign concept initially, helped me see the humor in the incident. As we replotted our morning course I decided to follow his lead and add it to my list of New Year's resolutions. Instead of reacting grumpily to an unexpected curve that I am equally unprepared for, I will simply revel in the spontaneous surprise of the moment.
Morning cartoons are still out.
Luckily for me Declan's after school daycare was expecting him for the day, apparently much more familiar with the school calendar than I am, or maybe just more familiar with young Declan's father than I realize.