The first day of school is always exciting. Ours was more exciting than usual.
When our (iPhone) alarm went off this morning, our electricity was off. It was a sunny, clear day, so that was odd but no big deal. I have a gas stove and some Starbucks instant coffee for just this reason. I manually opened the garage door, toasted waffles on the stove, took the obligatory photos, and left the house in the nick of time.
This is my daughter walking to school in her new sneakers, hauling her new backpack stuffed with her new lunch box and new rain boots for her first day of first grade at a new school.
The things is--we don't live walking distance from school. In fact, we live a twenty-minute drive from school.
About one-third of a mile from our house, we encountered this.
A tree--and all the power lines it had taken down--blocked the entire street. Can't go over it, can't go under it, can't go through it. Can't go around it either, because that street is the only way to and from my house.
I already had a little one nervous about her first day, so I decided that any action was better than inaction. There was no way we were turning around, returning home, and missing the first morning of school. That would be a catastrophe.
I started dialing. My kids attend private school, and few friends in town would be heading there. I tried the first two that came to mind, with no luck. Then I began to brainstorm other friends who live nearby but on the other side of the tree who might let me use their car. One answered my call (thanks, Jenna!) and thought she could make it work--after she grabbed a neighbor to come stay with her sleeping baby so she could pick us up.
We left our car and started walking. Past the National Grid trucks, past the policeman, past the gawking neighbors, past the abandoned cars parked on the side of the road, past the bucket truck and wood chipper. I'm told the backpacks were heavy.
Through it all, I kept a purposely sunny disposition, kept talking, and kept us moving. It seemed to do the trick. No one freaked out. Both kids agreed they'd have a good story to tell and would always remember this first day of school.
They arrived in their classrooms twenty-five minutes late, but they arrived and they rolled with it. We all did.
What a morning. I felt like I needed a cocktail at 10:30 a.m. (but abstained).
I feel I've earned a "normal" school day, but tomorrow is a school holiday. Already. I can't wait until Monday.
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Taken from the far side of the tree while walking back to retrieve my car after everyone had been delivered safely to their classrooms.