Friday, September 11, 2009

Time to Go Home

There’s a little in-home daycare that I pass everyday on my way from the bus stop to my apartment.  Usually there’s some contingent of small children running around on the sidewalk or yelling from inside the kitchen, which opens onto the street.  But yesterday, there was a different scene.  A father stood on the steps of the daycare, holding his young daughter in his arms, saying goodbye to the others inside the building.  It reminded me of when my daddy used to pick my sister and me up from day care.

Alfred and I went to the Teaching Center on Whitnall, back before Whitnall Square existed.  It was just Teaching Center (later named Children’s World), the Balley’s across the street and the Hardee’s on the corner.  The rest of that now-giant shopping plaza was all field.  The older children took field trips to catch butterflies out there, beyond the fences of our play area.  I longed to be a big kid and run after butterflies, hand wrapped tightly around the plastic handle, the long net streaming behind me as the grass brushed against my knees.  I never got to run after those butterflies.  By the time I was big enough, the plaza was under construction.

Anyway, as the evening wore on, Alfred and I would get anxious for Daddy’s arrival.  By late afternoon, the caregivers themselves were worn out and tired.  We’d have some fun play time in the big center area – I loved the mini one person trampoline – and then they’d turn on PBS for us.  If we saw Sesame Street come on, Daddy was late.

It wasn’t hard to spot Daddy when he came in.  Besides being one of only a few fathers picking up their children – it was the mid ‘80s after all – his tall, well-dressed person stood out starkly against the tiny rugrats and casually dressed staff.  Plus, there was that head of thick curly hair, then still mostly jet black, that made him seem even taller.

I remember Alfred and I running up to him, “Daddy!” and throwing our arms around his knees and waist, respectively.  I don’t know if we really did that every time we saw him, but it sticks in my mind most vividly.  He’d smile, maybe politely chit chat with one of the staff for a bit, make sure we had all our belongs and then wisk us away in his grey Olds, home for the evening where he’d start cooking dinner.

Daddy would pick us up from Grandma and Grandpa’s, too, when Grandma watched us.  And it was much the same.  By the end of the day, Grandma would set us up in the kitchen with the small television (right) on PBS.  me and tv in grandma's kitchenIf Sesame Street came on, or if Grandpa came home, Daddy was late.  Even now, I can hear the distinctive tinkle of the bell on the back door, the sound of the inside door opening, the pwop of the weather stripping on the door separating from the doorway, shoes on the stone floor.  “Daddy!”  His knit hat sticking up on top of his head, battling with his poofey curls to stay put, and that long multi-colored knit scarf we called his Dr. Who scarf.

Some talk with his mom while we gathered up our coats, mittens, scarves and hats.  Then home to start cooking dinner and wait for Mommy to arrive so we could run and jump on her, “Mommy!” before she even had a chance to take her coat off or put her purse down.

If I remember correctly - which I might not, but that’s what Mommy’s for – we were more often at Children’s World in the Summer and at Grandma and Grandpa’s after school.  Though I know there were some times we went to Children’s World after school and some times we were at Grandma and Grandpa’s in the summer. 

I wish Daddy was coming to pick me up tonight to take me home.  Oh well, guess I better get ready to take myself to the bus stop so I can go home and cook my own dinner, without any giant hugs.

wendy and daddy at 794 house demolishingsDaddy and Alfred after picking us up one day (and taking us to see some houses being destroyed for the new 794 extension).


Jeannie said...

sniff, sniff =/ how sweet

goldenrail said...

Mommy, why the unhappy face? I love you, too! Guess I'll have to write about how we used to wait for you to come home.