Seeing grandson off to school this morning; backpack heavy but not with books. It holds his lunch bag that contains food for two nutrition breaks (lunch and recess in the old days), bottled water and several juice boxes. He also gets two servings of milk each day that his mother ordered and paid for. Also in the backpack is a toy and a book for quiet time. It all adds up.
I watch as he crosses the playground and throws the backpack onto a pile of others; a couple of boys and one girl run up to him and then they all head for the small hill the snow plow has deliberately built up for them in the middle of the playground. Grandson loves this hill. He has extra snow pants at school just for playing on this hill. His mother also loves this hill because any morning he is slow to get ready she just has to remind him that he likes a few minutes to play on the hill before school starts, and this usually speeds him up. Both of them severely lament the hill's melting every spring.
I like the mixture of children attending this public school. It's a small village, just over three thousand people but lately it has acquired a couple of swanky subdivisions. However, a certain percentage of students are still bussed in from surrounding farms and smaller hamlets. So not all the kids have fancy backpacks or sport LLBean jackets or have Bogs on their feet.
From this distance in the parking lot, I can still make out grandson, or at least I think it is him. There's a bunch of kids on the hill top, all of them mouths wide in glee as they leap and jump and roll down the sides.
I won't let my mind think of how they could so easily get hurt. No, I won't, not today. I will choose to carry home with me today the looks of joy instead.