Linus goes to a children’s day out program at a local church. I’m not going to say which local church because the program is first-come, first-served, and frankly I don’t need the competition. But I will say that the program is fantastic, and after fire, the wheel and cheese in a can, children’s day out programs are perhaps mankind’s greatest invention.
The only downside of the children’s day out program — apart from that it doesn’t meet on Fridays and they won’t keep Linus longer than three hours even if I beg and try to slip them bags of cash — is actually leaving Linus. This isn’t so hard on me, but when I hand Linus over to his teacher, he screams and cries louder than I do when I step on one of his Thomas the Tank Engines in the middle of the night. This used to make me feel guilty, but it’s not like I’m dropping him off at Camp Crystal Lake and his teacher is wearing a hockey mask. He loves children’s day out, and apart from those first 60 seconds of sobbing, he reportedly enjoys every minute he spends there.
He’d gotten better about going into his room with minimal tears until Baby O came on the scene. Then I started dropping him off and he watched in horror as the baby and I left to, he probably assumed, have all manner of fun without him. This I suppose would be quite traumatic, but I tried to explain that when we leave, Baby O naps and I work on my book and it’s all very boring and he’d be much happier at children’s day out. He’d nod his head like he understood, but when we’d start to leave, his bottom lip would poke out and before we rounded the corner I could hear him crying.
But then last week something strange happened. We were in the hallway, waiting for children’s day out to begin, and when the clock struck 9, he grabbed his bag and started walking toward his room. I started to follow, but stopped to watch what he’d do, and he just kept walking.
Surely he’ll look back and give me a sad smile, I thought, but he kept walking.
“Turn around buddy,” I mumbled to myself. “Look back and smile or cry or something.”
But he just kept walking, right into his room, so I picked up Baby O and we went home.
Linus will be 3 soon, and Oliver turns 1 in April, and I can’t for the life of me figure out how that happened. I swear they were both infants just a few months ago. People warned me this would happen, that the days would be slow but the years would go fast, but that’s hard to appreciate at 3 a.m., covered in spit-up. But Oliver will start going to children’s day out soon, and if he screams when I drop him off, I’m going to enjoy every minute of it. Because one day, neither of my boys will look back with a sad smile … but I will.
Auburn resident Chad Gibbs is the author of "God & Football," "Love Thy Rival" and "Jesus Without Borders." His website is chadgibbs.com.