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Peter Mallory's Blog

By pmallory - Posted on 20 June 2012

17 February 2012

Okay, I'm on a roll. I have another Philip story.

I used to drive Philip to school every day when he was a kid. It was on the way to my work, and we had a ton of fun together. During our 20-minute trips on the freeway I would quiz Philip on . . . stuff. Early on it was the colors of the cars: "Boo? Gheen? . . . La-a-a-a-a-lo!" Then it was the makes of the cars: "Thunderbird! Firebird!" Later it was reading the license plates, which was great practice for a preschooler because most were a random list of letters and numbers and you only had a second or two to look. When he got to middle school, our car trips included reading the license plates in French in between listening to The Iliad on Books-on-Tape!

This story is from the days when Philip was 3, on top of the world ergometer standings and still going to preschool with his little red box from a McDonald's happy meal filled with a juice box and a cracker. It has nothing specifically to do with rowing, but it's a great story.

For some reason Philip's mother was taking him to school instead of me for a few days. She came home and asked me, "Do you think Philip enjoys school?" I said that he sure seemed to, and why did she ask? "Well, every time I drop him off he cries like a baby." I said I had never seen him do that even once in all the time I had dropped him off, more than a year. What could possibly be going on?

Well, she thought back and we talked through her every move, everything she said, everything she did, and it all seemed perfectly normal, just like what I did. We were completely stumped.

So we decided to do an experiment. The next morning she took Philip in her car, and I surreptitiously followed along behind and just observed. They got to school. She lifted Philip out of his car-seat, put his little red box in his hand, gave him a kiss and sent him off, just like I would have done. He boldly and confidently marched across the sidewalk and up the steps, just like I had seen him do a hundred times before, looking ready to attack a day full of colors and letters and morning naps and monkey bars. I'm watching from a distance and scratching my head, wondering if we'd ever figure out the problem, or if there even was a problem . . . when just as Philip was about to reach the teacher at the front door greeting everyone, his mother innocently calls out, "I'll miss you."

Philip immediately turns, bursts into tears, drops his little red box and sprints back down the steps and into his mother's arms. "I'll miss you, too, Mommy!"

An "aha moment" in the lives of two young parents. I'm sure Philip doesn't remember half the things he taught us.