My girls took the bus to Maine to spend part of spring vacation with their grandparents. I had such a busy week at work that I asked them to please be sure they had everything packed and ready to go. Just before we left home, Tara asked if I would check her suitcase to be sure she hadn’t left anything important behind. Inside, next to her clothes were three comic books and one very thick and very heavy hardcover reference book on chocolate.
She’s in sixth grade– the final year of the elementary school where she has been a student for the last 8 years. As part of the rites of passage from this lovely independent school, the “graduates” are required to complete an in-depth final project and publicly present their work to the wider school community. Tara chose ‘chocolate’ for her project and for the last few months we have been baking, eating, researching, reading, writing, living and dreaming chocolate.
“Good for you!” I said when I spied the book inside her suitcase. “I’m glad you plan to keep working on your project.” No more was said since we were already running late to catch the bus.
Tara’s suitcase is old. Since it doesn’t have wheels and her scholarly aspirations added significantly to the weight, Tara, her older sister and I took turns lugging it during the 15 minute walk to the subway station, then on and off two crowded trains, and across the train terminal to the bus station. By the time we reached the ticket line, we were all a bit worn out.
“After all that, you better be sure to read it while you’re visiting your grandparents!” I said.
“Naw,” she replied, “I’m not planning to take it out of the suitcase.”
“What?” I said, trying to imagine what she had in mind. “Then why did you bring it?”
All that hauling… for nothing? On the other hand, when it was my turn to lug that thing, I might have managed to burn off a few extra calories from all the chocolate I’ve been consuming.