Later in the evening before everyone went in for the night, two of the girls started yelling, "Ladies and gentlemen! Ladies and gentlemen! We have an announcement! Abe saved the day! He rescued us from the monsters by shooting them all! Abe saved the day!" Abe was listening to this while standing a few feet behind them in the shade of a tree. We all looked his way and cheered. With a straight face, he nodded once, then tipped his cowboy hat. He just barely smiled.
The cowboy had a bath and chamomile tea. He was asleep an hour earlier than normal. He fell asleep to his dad singing softly to him, "Well, we got trouble, right here in River City, with a capital C that rhymes with P and that stands for 'pool'..." Ted came downstairs shocked that he'd fallen asleep so easily. It's usually "one more song" or "one more book."
Morning. My alarm goes off, waking me up from a dream where I was sulking about yard sales in London, upset because my camera had been stolen. I get myself ready and then make french toast. I wake Abe up. I ask him if he remembers where he's going today. He doesn't. Sleepy face is trying to remember, in my arms, staring out the window, and then he turns towards me and only inches from my face, he whispers so softly I can barely hear it, through a puffy-faced smile, "to school." He is happy.
We pull up to the school in the rain. He jumps out of the car. He puts on his backpack (bearing only one small cup and a pair of underwear) and runs down the sidewalk. He sees the door to the preschool and points. I tell him to slow down. He does. I catch up to him, and another parent opens the locked door for us. I motion to him to go on inside. He hesitates, looks up at me with just the slightest bit of worry on his face, holds out his hand for me to take it, and says, "Are you coming Mom?" I take his hand and we go in together.
The teacher welcomes us in. I help him hang up his backpack, and as I pin his nametag to the back of his shirt, the tears start to well up. For me, not him. This is a big day. It just is. I walk around the room wishing this drop-off weren't so fast. He's already settled in to the play-dough table but I call him over to me to show him the pet snake. I'm not ready to leave. I hesitate and want to hold my hand out to him with the slightest bit of worry on my face and ask him, "Are you coming, Abe?"
One little girl in the class is sobbing, sitting on the teacher's lap, having a hard time on this first day. Abe sits across from her and looks. He rolls his play-dough. I snap his photo. He waves at me and cheerily says, "Bye, Mom."
I turn to leave. I walk out the door and back through the rain to the car. I'm not sure what I feel. Part of me is wondering what to do with myself since I'm not usually out and about this early and it's over an hour before I need to be at work. I sit in the car watching the rain on the windshield and look towards the school. I'm not sad. Only the briefest twinge of tears in the classroom. I suppose what I feel is confidence in who our boy is and how he'll handle this next adventure. And why shouldn't I? Our son is a monster-killing cowboy who has the sense to drink chamomile tea before bed. Rain or shine, he saves the day.
You want this gun-slinger on your side. He'll brew you some tea.