Ben's First Day

Today was Ben’s first day of “real” school — Senior Kindergarten. Today I faced a prioritization challenge that I imagine most working dad’s have to face.
I woke up this morning with the screws in my ankle tenting my skin quite painfully. With 3 weeks of travel starting on Monday, I decided I’d better try to see the surgeon to make sure everything was OK before I left. But first I had a parent/teacher conference with Ben’s kindergarten teacher. I called the Fracture Clinic and they agreed to squeeze me in at 11:30 — which I accepted, despite having a business lunch also scheduled at 11:30. I knew, from experience, that if I got to the clinic early, the odds were good I’d get in early.
The meeting with the teacher was done at 8:30, but Ben started his first day at 9am. I pulled up to the last turn where I could decide whether to drive in to the clinic or drive home to go back to the school with Ben. If I turned left, I knew with a high degree of certainty I’d be able to see the surgeon and make my professional obligation — but I’d miss Ben’s first day of school. If I turned right, I could help take Ben to school, but would likely have to cancel the lunch meeting.
I sat at the corner for a solid two minutes, praying that God would show me what the right decision was. Seconds after saying “amen” a train rolled in, blocking my way out of town for at least a few minutes. I took it as a sign, and turned right toward home.
And boy was I glad I did. Ben’s first day was a real treat. All the kindergarten students gathered excitedly around their seperate little entrance, most of them nattering excitedly, a few clinging to mom or dad. Ben spotted his little friend Tegan, and the two of them were very happy to see each other. When the bell rang, Ben looked surprised and a little tenuous, but eventually they all figured out that they should line up by the door. One little boy had to be dragged into the school wailing — but that didn’t effect morale much. When the teacher opened the door and greeted them, they eagerly rushed toward the entrance. I called out to Ben “have a great day, buddy!” and he turned back, the hugest grin on his face and said confidently “I will daddy! Bye!!”
Then they all stomped inside to hang their coats on the hook and experience the wonders of kindergarten.
I had to rush, but I made it to the surgeon and the business lunch. But even if I hadn’t, I’m confident that I chose the right priority this morning. That excited look on his face as he said good-bye will be a cherished memory for the rest of my life…

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