I Will Always Write This One in Pen

“I’ll pencil you in.”

It is a phrase used for making an appointment. Marking the calendar.  Scheduling a date.

My kids are looking out over the edge of the nest.  Standing on the edge. Getting ready to flap their arms.

I feel like we are kind of cheating the system because our first is commuting on the train into the city for college so we still see him everyday.  He is loving his new urban life and figuring his way around the streets of the city, but we still get to share in his “What was your day like?’ conversation in person.  Our daughter is just starting to contemplate how far away she wants to go.  When we suggest Elmhurst or Wheaton College just to tease her, we get “Uh no.” as an answer.  “Look! Just minutes from our front door!”  we say.   She wants to fly the coop.

So yesterday when our son needed to fix his schedule that had a computer glitch, he asked me to come along and make sure he could make the changes so it didn’t affect his schedule for future semesters.  I was happy to tag along.  We jumped on the 8:37 and headed in.  He stood in line and got his schedule fixed while I surfed on his iPad in the hall. (That’s a bad visualNo, not as…  on a wave in the ocean on the slippery hall tile, that would break the iPad and THAT would just be silly).

We had plenty of time before his first class so we decided to go get some breakfast.

The most impromptu plans are always the best.  It wasn’t the food, it wasn’t the coffee (filled with white chocolate because neither of us drink real coffee…we NEED it with chocolate), it was the casual time.  Like neither of us had anywhere else to be.  Like we didn’t have anything in particular to talk about.  Like we were friends.  No parenting.  No advice.  Just the latest thing we saw on YouTube or CBS Sunday Morning (ok, that was me…but it was cool.  It was about the Oregon football team and all of their flashy uniforms.)  We talked about Google and Christmas Break and that there still is no snow (which is killing his inner snowboarder spirit).

Usually when you have time together you have to talk about plans…  Next semester or this weekend or where will everybody be for dinner or what about the dog.   This was a big hour of nothingness that meant everything.

I will always jump at the chance to tag along.  You should too.  Don’t ever ask…”Will I be in the way?”  Plan to go with.

And write it in pen.

Illustrations by P.D. Eastman

Filed under: Parenting, Trainspotting

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