Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Dads cry about dumb stuff.

It was a Wednesday morning.  I took Coco to school as usual.  We left the house at our normal time, just after Mari arrived at 8:00 a.m.  We walked to the Muni stop at Church and Market streets playing "don't step on the cracks" and then we waited for the J Church and played "I spy with my little eye".  Coco talked to the birds.  We rode the train to 22nd and Church and walked the remaining several blocks to school, chatting along the way about whatever popped into Coco’s mind.  At school, Coco pressed the code on the key pad to unlock the doors.  Inside, I tucked her Frozen lunch box and her Frozen thermos into her cubby and signed the morning check-in sheet on the clipboard by the door.  I was out the door within a few minutes and on my way to catch the J Church back to downtown.  It was 8:45 a.m.

And then it happened.  I was only a few steps out the school doors when the tears started welling up.  "Seriously?  It's not even her last day of preschool.  It's her second-to-last day of preschool.  And your crying about it now?"

Ken warned me this might happen.  Just the week before, he had arrived at school to pick Coco up and came in just as she and her five-year-old classmates were practicing the good-bye song they would sing at the year-end cultural celebration and preschool graduation party.  Ken texted me later and confessed that he had broken into tears right there in the classroom.

These weren’t my first daddy tears.  Before Ken and I flew to India to pick up Margot and Flynn after they were born, I flew with Coco to Atlanta so that she could stay with her Grandma Connie and
Grandpa Roy while we were away.  Coco was not quite two-and-a-half.  On the way back to the airport with Connie and Roy, sitting in the backseat with Coco, I was feeling anxious about leaving her for so long.  When we got to the airport and I got out of the car, Coco cried, wailed and downright screamed for me not to leave her.  I gritted my teeth, told her I loved her, kissed her and waved good-bye and then walked into the airport.  Once inside I totally lost it.  And I mean "Capital L, Capital I" lost it.  Burst into tears.  It took several minutes just to pull myself together.  (Connie and Roy called me just a short while later to tell me that Coco was enjoying ice cream and playing at the McDonald’s Playland.)

First Day of Preschool
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
So, here I was, having just dropped Coco off for her second-to-last day of preschool and I was boo-hoo’ing as I walked to the train.  For nearly three years I had taken Coco to school and picked her up twice a week.  We took the 24 bus together for the first year and then, when the school moved, the J Church train.  For the first two years she rode on my shoulders a lot until she got too big for long shoulder rides and big enough to run to catch the train if we were late.  In the mornings we would decide whether to walk on the sunny side of the street or the shady side.  (She knows I like the shady side.)  On the way home we would window-shop, always stopping at the window of the toy store on 24th street. When it closed about six months ago we decided it should re-open as a jelly bean store.  (It didn’t.)  Waiting for the train we would watch the karate class at the corner of 24th and Church and then play "I spy with my little eye."  Once, on the way home, we were caught in a rainstorm that was so torrential we had to stop and take cover in a doorway; she still talks about that night.

Last Day of Preschool
Friday, July 1, 2016
Every day, both coming and going to school, she practiced balancing along a curb that ran the length of one side Duboce park.  When she was two-and-a-half she couldn't do it very well, stepping off the curb at least a few times.  Now she runs the entire length.   

Although a lot of things have changed and she's grown up a lot in the past three years, she never stopped holding my hand on our way to school and on our way home.  That was the best part.  The holding hands.  That’s the part I’ll remember.

Okay, now I'm going to lose it again . . .

Next month Flynn and Margot start pre-school and I get to start all over with them.  Who knows.  Maybe we'll get that jelly bean store yet.


 Preschool Graduation
Friday, June 24, 2016
Coco and Daddy
Last Day of Preschool / Riding the J Church


1 comment:

  1. What a softie! But I totally understand. Kids grow up so quickly and so sweetly. If we wrote down all of the precious moment we would be transcribing all the time! Thanks for capturing this: true essence of fatherhood. You are an amazing dad and Coco is sooo cool.