Over the last three years, with the beginning of the new school year, I’d sit across the kitchen table from my grandson Mike sharing a morning cup of coffee most mornings while we wait for his school bus. I have written before about our journey with Mike and I continue to be in constant awe how far he’s come in his sixteen plus years. Mike was a Shaken Baby, abused in the first 2 months of his life by his biological father. In hindsight there were signs of the abuse, but how the abuse could go on without awareness or intervention is another story to be told. This post isn’t even about the miraculous and gratifying road he has taken our whole family on.
A sudden change in daycare circumstances forced the family to make adjustments to Mike’s school bus pick up time and location. The most practical solution at that time was to have the bus pick up and drop off at my house. I had the most flexibility with morning time and Mike was ready to assume the personal responsibility of becoming at least a part-time after school latchkey kid. I adjusted my morning arrival times at work for most days of the week while we waited for the bus and shared a cup of coffee and ran through his daily check list- did he take his meds- check, does he have his book bag- check, did he have his door key- check.
Not all mornings were so pleasant. Some mornings while he tried to cram in a game or two on the Xbox, I would have to constantly remind him that it was time to log off and get ready or get off his phone while texting his friend. True to his teenage nature, he would be annoyed with me, but it was short-lived. He is truly a genuine gentle soul.
This school year his parents have decided the school bus will pick up and drop off at his own house. After a successful trial run this past summer of his summer camp bus picking him up and drop off at his own home, Mike will begin a new independent venture by taking his school bus from his own home.
In all honesty, I will miss his witty comebacks when I would tease him about his teenage hygiene, or lack thereof, and his need for haircuts. As it is with many teenage boys, grooming is often a source of conversation, if not concern. Morning coffee conversations often went like this;
“Mike, you need to comb or at least run a brush through your hair.”
“Mike, you need a haircut. Your hair is starting to look nappy.”
“Ani, my hair IS nappy!”
Lately his need to shave regularly is the most recent hygiene issue. I recently razzed him that he looked scruffy and dirty because he hadn’t shaved in a while. He later showed up freshly shaved and even splashed on some cologne. He's learning an appreciation for smelling good, but still doesn't brush his nappy hair when in need of a haircut.
Every morning during the school year, as the bus would arrive he would bolt out the front door, but not before a quick, “Love you!” I will miss that more than anything.
There is a list of things that I won’t miss by adjusting my schedule. Most of all, I will not miss the awful traffic that comes with a late start on the road.
It’s a longer list of things I will miss without Mike and our morning coffee. But time marches on and our journey with Mike is far from over. It’s just the next chapter.
Good luck to the BuddhaMan as he continues on his journey.