Thursday, September 04, 2008

Back to School

The alarm clock goes off at 5AM. It does this every morning. However, on this morning I end my usual routine after breakfast and instead get into my car. At 5:40 it is still too early for most of our neighbors to be stirring. The engine roars to life, breaking the silence on my quiet street. I pull out of our driveway, onto our street and then out onto South Street. WBZ Radio 1030 is filling me in with news, traffic and weather as I head off into the early morning light.
There are some low laying clouds that beautifully reflect the rising sun. Burnt reds and oranges give way to the brightening blue sky of morning. After listening to "traffic on the three's" I know that I am in good shape for my run to the South Shore. I turn on MIKE FM as I cruise onto route 128. 25 minutes later and I'm a bit early (aren't I always?) but the ride was fantastic. The sun was shining and the air was cool. There was no traffic to speak of, the music was solid and I'm heading off route 3 and into the suburbs.
I pull into Dunkin' Donuts. There's a small line at the drive thru so I park the SAAB and head into the store. A middle-aged clerk takes my order. He's a bit chatty for 6:20 in the morning but I don't mind. It's a good retail clerk who doesn't make you feel that you're bothering him at an ungodly hour - even if you are. He hands me a steaming Styrofoam cup with oversize cover and off I go. 10 minutes later I arrive at Jenna's.
Her mom is out by the pool; a large mug of coffee in her hand. She sends a greeting over the fence and I join her. We chat for a few moments when she informs me that Jenna is upstairs finishing getting ready. I offer to go and rattle her cage and Pam obliges, with a warning that the other kids are still sleeping and to try to keep the noise down. I agree.
Silently I make my way into the house and up the stairs to stand outside my daughter's bedroom door. I knock quietly.
"Come in."
I open the door and standing before me is a young woman; my daughter. She's wearing the new clothes she bought with a new-enough pair of blue jeans. As a final touch she's added the high heels that I bought for her. She looks fantastic and oh-so grown up. She smiles and greets me warmly. She quickly spies the cup in my hand and her eyes light up like spotlights. "Is that chai tea?" she asks excitedly.
"It sure is," I say as I hand the cup over to her. She eagerly takes it from me.
"Thanks, Dad!"
We talk briefly and then I head back downstairs to allow her to finish getting ready. Pam and I talk for a few moments before I head back upstairs again. It's five minutes until the bus arrives so, of course, I feel the need to nudge her along. She's ready to go and we head back downstairs. Pam is inside now and I take a picture of "Mom and Daughter" for the scrapbook. Jenna is packed and ready to go. We head out the back door to the street to wait for the bus. We both lean against the car as Jenna sips from her chai tea.
This is new. Ordinarily I would wait in the house with Pam so as not to "embarrass" her in front of her classmates. This year is different. She wants me out here. We talk and laugh easily as we wait for the bus which arrives five minutes late.
During a quiet moment I think back on all of the "First Day of School" trips that I have made over the years. I was there for all of them. This is number eleven. One more to go. I originally thought that this tradition would end once Jenna reached junior high school. It didn't, much to my pleasant surprise. I'm honored that she still wants me to be involved.
Finally the bus arrives. I get a quick kiss goodbye as my daughter - the young woman before me - walks confidently to the bus and into her junior year.


Blogger Fox In Detox said...

You are such a great dad Andy. This is the best thing that the skinny, little, nerd boy I used to know way back when could ever become. You have achieved the greatest success my friend. I am VERY proud of you...and a little jealous too.

9:45 AM, September 04, 2008  
Blogger 1st Lady said...

Awww, fantastic, and what a fabulous photo!

9:22 PM, September 04, 2008  
Blogger 1st Lady said...

As for skinny, little, nerd, boy... chuckle chuckle..

9:22 PM, September 04, 2008  
Blogger Andy said...

Yes, 1st Lady, I was a skinny little nerd boy! Now it can be told across two continents.

7:14 AM, September 05, 2008  
Blogger Summer Ryan Doyle said...

What beautiful daughter, Andy. I'm so glad appreciates the great dad she has.

9:27 PM, September 07, 2008  
Blogger 1st Lady said...

I was skinny too, boyish, and kinda ugly, what with short red hair, so a magnet for teasing. Used to be called a twig with the wood scraped off, haha. One of the nicer names.

8:19 AM, September 08, 2008  
Blogger Andy said...

My 25th High School reunion is in November. I say that the best revenge to being a nerd in HS is living (and looking) well into my 40's.

8:51 AM, September 08, 2008  

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