The morning routine locked down and timed to the minute. Up first, unfortunately, but alone long enough to turn on the coffee, take my morning pills, and put on clothes, and then it’s waking up Holly and then Avery (who needs a few minutes, some mornings, to wake up), and then Aurora (who, these last few nights, has ended up in my bed at some point).
Dressed and fed and teeth brushed, and then Holly leaves for work and I make sure jackets are buttoned and zipped. I unfold the stroller for Aurora, and she (as long as is holding something she can eat) gets in and helps me buckle her into place. Avery walks on my right on our way to school (which puts me between him and the street).
We cross one street, but before we do, Avery pushes the button, and we wait for the white walking man before we walk (and we don’t walk when the red hand is visible) and we walk to school and we talk about his day and we talk about what he did the day before (I never remember, he says) and yesterday he was the class leader, which meant he got to describe the weather and stand in the front of line at dismissal. Only when prompted this morning did he tell me.
Hellos to the teacher and to other parents and Avery gets into his place in line and waves goodbye and makes sure I’m coming back and of course I’m coming back and he looks back once before he walks into the building, making sure I’m still there. The crossing guard in front of the school looks like Stan Lee, co-creator of the Marvel Comic Book universe. Excelsior, I want to say to him, each day I take Avery to school.
Aurora and I go home, walking the same way home that we just walked to get to school. She says bye-bye all the way home, and sometimes she adds in Avery’s name. Bye-bye Avery, Aurora says. Bye-bye.