I was tired and just wanted to go for a walk, start dinner, open a bottle of wine, relax – finally. But my daughter had called me in a panic earlier in the day: “Can you pick up Sophie from Russian math later today? I overbooked with the two boys.”
Being a woman who always wants to be a “good mom” and an even better grandmother, I said yes even before I asked “where?”
“Wellesley,” daughter answered in a voice seeped with guilt.
“Wellesley?” I groaned. Driving is not my favorite activity, particularly during commute time.
But I drove the back way, through Sudbury and Wayland and Weston onto Wellesley and found Washington Street and sat in the parking lot. My heart calmed as I listened to the soothing sounds of classical music.
Once when I drove my grandkids to some event – school concert? soccer match? – I changed my normal station to some clever pop music, thinking my grandkids would think me cool. The 7-year-old boy chimed in with disappointment, “I thought you listened to Beethoven, Madre.”
So much for being cool.
Five minutes into my reverie and a Bach prelude, 11-year-old Sophie bounced into the car.
“I’m exhausted, Madre,” she sighed. “Sixth grade is so different from fifth. We had a history test and it was…” she paused. “Can you pop your joint?”
I heard the cracking/crunching of Sophie’s ankle joint as she moved it back and forth. I tried to pop my left ankle as my right foot touched the brake. “Not sure this is a good idea for us, Soph,” I said as I made a right turn to avoid more traffic.
But then she looked up, out at the red and orange-leaved trees, the dusky pink-lavender sky and commented: “I love going home this way. You’re the best, Madre.”
If a smile is a joint, mine popped wide open.
(The Russian School of Mathematics is an after school program that provides advanced mathematics education for children attending K–12 schools.)