Most mornings, I get up with my daughter, or more accurately, I wake her up. We have our little morning rituals—I turn on her lamp (or this time of the year, open her shade), pick her up and take her downstairs (something I might not be able to do for much longer). I turn on the TV and let her wake up slowly—she’s not the morning person I am. Usually, there’s a good deal of whining and moaning, stalling and kvetching. This morning, though, she was up and ready to go. Today, her family was coming to see her in a school play, and she had memorized her lines and just about everyone else’s. When I dropped her at school, there was no hesitation, just a quick “Bye, Daddy” and a leap out of the car.
The play was, of course, cute, and her mother signed her out from school afterward citing “fun” as a reason. We ate lunch together at a local deli and then I got on the road to Grand Rapids, a town I’ve driven by but never visited.
Driving across Michigan in the spring is, it turns out, quite nice. After passing through the remainder of my own metropolitan area, a typical Midwestern countryside opened up, with tractors in the fields, horses grazing, large windowless pig farms (at least I think that’s what they were) and occasional auto-related factories sprouting out of the otherwise bucolic landscape. The diversity of farmsteads that I could see from the highway was fascinating. Some were large complexes with many metal silos and huge John Deere machines turning up dust. Others were a farmhouse and a shed on a couple of acres with a tractor pulling a plow. They were all beautiful.
And then I arrived in Grand Rapids. Michigan isn’t a state with a lot of navigable rivers, being an old sea basin, but the riverfront here is beautiful, with well-kept pedestrian walks, gentle rapids, occasional fishermen, and some sort of prolifically-breeding spring insect.
All this is giving me a nice bit of distraction before my conference presentation tomorrow which I might otherwise be worrying over obsessively.
Before pulling out of the driveway, I told my kiddo I’d Skype her tonight. Her surprised smile was the best part of the day.