The Backpack

I rolled over.

‘I have to make a Geometry quiz and give them their papers back. Why wasn’t she at school again today? Tomorrow I’ll make that appointment, but when am I going to have time? Did I send the email? Why hasn’t I heard back? I need to write that paper.’

I reached for my phone, checked the time and did the math.

‘Five hours, twenty-one minutes. I should have gone to the gym. Crap, I left my lunch bag at school. I don’t have any vegetables. Did I turn off the hot water?’

I opened facebook and skimmed blindly.

‘Why did he say that? Did I make her angry? He’s going to hurt her. Should I talk to her? What if she gets mad at me? I shouldn’t have said anything.’

I put down the phone and rolled over again.

‘Those kids! They swarmed out of the elementary school carrying those backpacks that were every bit as big as they were. How cute it was to see the older kids take the hands of their brothers and sisters. The little one stood there looking like he needed a bathroom, impatient for his sister’s bubbly teenage conversation to finish.’

The scene from after school was bright in my mind.

‘What a chaotic mess! Cars were everywhere, little kids running through the street, dodging cars and looking for their rides.’

I chucked.

‘That little girl flung her backpack into the car and hit her mom square in the face. It looked like it took all her strength to get it through the window before she opened the door and plopped down in that seat. The mom didn’t miss a beat. In one motion she moved the heavy bag to the back, gave her daughter a hug, and called to her other son. What a good mom. That’s just how little kids are, aren’t they?’

I fluffed up my pillow.

‘How many times have I seen kids at the end of a school day unload the burden of their bags on their parents? And off they go to play, not a care on their minds. All that had been done that day forgotten and their homework left for later when mom or dad reminds them, after they’ve played, after they’ve rested, after they’ve eaten, when they can get help if they need it.’

I smiled.

“Come to me like little children.” “Cast your cares on the Lord.” “My yoke is easy; my burden is light.”

‘They’re doing it right.’

I rolled over again. I shoved all those thoughts in my mental backpack and handed them over, taking care not to smack my good father in the face.

‘Thank you.’

And I fell asleep.

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