Every once in a while my schedule allows me to enjoy a slower morning (not the crazy scramble for a 6:30 departure, followed by a 45 minute commute, and a 7:30AM class start time). On these rare mornings, instead of rushing off to school, I accompany Charlotte to her school.
It is a short walk. Just a meander, really. Up our brick-paved street, past the columns of towering palm trees, a morning greeting of "Salamat Pagi" with the embassy guards at the green gate, across the street from, Hero, our neighborhood grocery store, and next to the flower stalls.
All along the way, Charlotte stops to smell and pick flowers. She wears a uniform, and I love to see her in her red plaid dress. A little school girl.She collects a bouquet of flowers for her teacher, Ms. Sheryl, while keeping up a constant stream of chatting...about her school, her projects, her friends (Adam, Matthew, and Sienna), and her dance class. I nod and answer "uhuh" in the affirmative so she knows I'm listening. She pauses only long enough to hand me a flower to smell.
After I extricate myself from Charlotte's enthusiastic goodbye, I walk back down the stairs and begin my commute to work. It is always a bittersweet moment...where I try to balance my gratitude for Charlotte, her unconditional love, her great school, our walk together, and wondering if I made the right decision to work full-time.
I love my little girl so much. She is my sunshine.