Over The Line

The second little traveller heads to middle school in August. She’s terrified but keen.

“Will you miss Elementary School?” I asked this morning on the way to the doctor’s surgery.

“No?!” her tone suggested I’d said something ridiculous.

“We get more privileges in Middle School.”

“Like what?”

“We don’t have to walk in a line!” there was a pfftt and an eye roll.

I thought about all of the times I’d visited her for school excursions and concerts, how I’d watched her walk in a line as she left the classroom, walked to the cafeteria, or got on a bus. She’d loved the kudos that being in the front had given her in pre-school, the birthday treat “and the teacher let me be first in line all day!”

I made a joke about being over the line, beneath the line, out of line. “I’m so over that line” I exaggerated.

“I’ll miss Mrs D – but I won’t miss the line” she was looking down at her lap.

“I’m sad she’s leaving” I agreed. “your brothers won’t get to experience Mrs D”

“Yeah, well I’m sure Mrs D isn’t too sad about that” she giggled

We arrived at the doctors, held hands, played noughts and crosses while we waited. We shared an appointment, they weighed and measured her, took my temperature and blood pressure. We made eye contact as the nurse put the thermometer in my mouth, I knew she knew what I was thinking. “How ridiculous taking my temperature when I’m here to show you a bump on my arm”. We both smiled.

We held hands as we walked to the dermatology department, we agreed that she didn’t need to take the bucket of medicine prescribed for her knee, that a bandage was probably enough. She thought she’d rest it. No more hand stand bridges on the couch. She decided she wouldn’t go to the party tonight. We bought a donut, I bought a coffee, we couldn’t hold hands anymore.

When we got to school I walked her in, she was too fast for me to keep up. “Do we not hold hands at school anymore?” I asked as I power walked behind her. She turned, her pony tail swishing in time with her steps, she grinned and quickly whispered “no, we do not”.

When we arrived in the classroom there was a girl standing on a table, the class was scream singing Happy Birthday while she beamed.

“I had no idea they did that” I said peeking in through the window.

“You can go now” she motioned, shooing me away.

As I wandered back towards the gate I saw a Grade One class heading towards the library, their teacher held a finger up to her lips, with their hands by their sides, they walked in a straight line. I watched as the leader, a little girl, the first in line, lead the way with authority. A smile taking over her face.

“Enjoy it while it lasts” I said as I got a little closer.

I was talking to myself as much as I was to her.

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