A Year of Walking to School

Written by Emily Mathon

We made a commitment to ourselves at the beginning of this school year. This year marks our oldest daughter’s entry as a Kindergartener at Maplewood. It was also our son’s first year at Open Door Preschool, on the corner of 38-½ and Cherrywood. We committed to walking to school every day. I believe this commitment contributed to one of the happiest years of my life.

walking to school

Photo by Emily Mathon

Fortunately, our kids’ natural clocks aligned with the school schedule. I know from talking with many other parents, that such alignment is somewhat rare. After our morning routine of getting dressed, breakfast, hair brushed and shoes on their feet, we head out the door on foot to Maplewood. We know we are early if we see the Slotbooms, or as we refer to them “the Mulberry boys.” We first met the twins in the Willowbrook Reach Mulberry bushes.

Some mornings were a struggle – Indigo’s socks didn’t feel quite right, Kestrel couldn’t leave his beloved pillow, the backpack was too heavy, or the parents had to get up too early. Most mornings, by the time we walked in the doors at Maplewood, everyone was feeling happy and excited. The trek up the street seems to solve all ills.

Some mornings, after a rain, we might save 14” earthworms from their peril in the street. Other mornings Indigo might carrya cluster of rolly-pollies, sticks, rocks, seeds, or flowers. There were days we tried to avoid big puddles, other days when we had to ask drivers to slow down, and days when looking at the Willowbrook water under the bridge caught everyone’s attention for a few minutes. Garbage trucks, pickup trucks, the “bee car”, and the other neighborhood Leaf passed us by on our walks. Many mornings, other Cherrywood folks (aside from the Mulberry family) would join us on our parade to Maplewood. We’d share a greeting, a smile, and be on our way to arrive before the morning assembly started.

I look forward to another amazing year at Maplewood in August and many more as Kestrel begins Kindergarten in the fall of 2017.

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