Subway pass. Phone. Mittens (not the favorites since I lost one in the snow). “It’s 6:45,” the Morning Edition anchor announces. Berry oatmeal crammed into a miniature Mason jar. Fuchsia scarf with the pom poms. (Always pom poms.) The clock on the microwave reads a time long past 6:45.
We are late.
As I turn, I see him on his knees, head bent over his table, white mail truck in one hand and red fire truck in the other. “Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding,” he sings, and I instinctively insert the remaining verses of the day care staple. “Hurry, Hurry, Drive the Fire Truck” seems to mock us this day.
“Are you ready, Elly?” I ask him.
Mistake. Of course he’s not ready.
In my head, I start running lists of what I need to do as soon as we say our farewells at day care and I head upstairs to teach. The list is impossibly long.
“Elliott. It’s time to go.”
“Nooooooooo,” he howls, tightening his grip on his cars. I anticipate one of them being catapulted on a marvelous arc in our tiny kitchen and preemptively reach to take them out of his hands.
He screams louder, tears now accompanying his wails as I put his hat and coat on and carry him down the stairs. His cries subside as I strap him into his stroller, but I feel a slight sweat creep down my back, belying the frigid temperatures.
We round the corner from our apartment, gate creaking shut behind us, my feet picking up speed as we roll through the sleepy neighborhood. I point the stroller down the middle of the street, a habit I’ve continued after the one terrible snow of the season made the sidewalks impassable.
I check my pocket to make sure I have my FitBit. I at least want credit for the steps I’m going to rack up today. I’ve fallen into my own thoughts, resorting to prioritizing what will and will not be accomplished upon arrival at work.
I nearly missed it. Who knows how many times he actually sang that verse from “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” before I shook myself out of my own loop to hear it. But yes, there he was, singing as loudly as he could, for all of our neighborhood to hear.
“Elliott, are you singing?” I asked, pulling the stroller to a stop and walking around to peer into the blanket that cocooned him like a toddler-sized burrito.
He smiled, held out his hand to touch my nose.
“And it’s one, two, three strikes you’re out at the old ball game,” I finished for him, slowing my pace as I sang and allowing myself some additional volume to match his zeal about what I surmised was his favorite part.
Sure, maybe I made us late getting to work, but I was right on time for a morning singalong with my boy. Exactly right on time.