Posts Tagged ‘Nap Time’

The North Ship

Friday, February 13th, 2009

I saw three ships go sailing by, 
Over the sea, the lifting sea,
And the wind rose in the morning sky,
And one was rigged for a long journey. 

–From “The North Ship” by Philip Larkin

I went to pick him up and he was screaming at a little girl: “Don’t do that!” She had said “Hey, S.” She was using his name, and he didn’t like it. I had promised myself, on the way to pick him up, that I wouldn’t ask his teacher for a status report. I always check with his teacher. I wanted to give my son a break. It was very awkward, not questioning the teacher. I stood there for a moment, not knowing what to say. I didn’t have to say anything. “Did you tell your dad how you behaved today?” the teacher asked my son. We were standing outside under the sparkling February sky, children playing around us. “What did you do?” I asked my son.

Later, I was rushing down the sidewalk, cellphone to my ear. I had a dinner date with a friend and had had to blow out of the house without telling my wife what happened, not that what happened was such a big deal: our son had thrown a fit when a teacher had come to pick him up for Spanish, one of the add-on classes at his preschool. I’m beginning to think we should yank him from the class. He doesn’t like to go to it, though when he gets there he seems to like it.  And then there was nap time.  He hadn’t laid flat, one of the classroom rules. “It’s not a big deal,” I told my wife, walking down the sidewalk to meet my friend. There was a worried pause when she replied. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “It’s just that he seems to be improving and then he’s not.” “Don’t worry,” I said, entering the restaurant. “I won’t,” she said and hung up.

Then I get up this morning remembering my son’s confession. The sky was bright blue and these beautiful children were running around. My son nestled into me. That was the thing: he still trusted me.  I was his father.  I would protect him. I would keep him safe.  

And then to show me how much he’d learned, he started counting.

“Uno, dos, tres…”