"Why are you hanging your bag all the way over there, babe?" I ask Chago last week at school. "Why not hang it closer to the door, so that maybe you'll remember to take out your snack and lunch bags more often? And so maybe there's not a trail of gloves and jacket and hat all up the side of the ramp? And maybe all your homework actually makes it home? On the first day? In one piece? Maybe."
"I can't hang it there, Mom," he says with a little smirk on his face.
"Why not, bubba?"
"Uh-uh," he says, shaking his head furiously.
"Why? Not? Son?"
"Well..." he begins, "Shaelyn's backpack is almost always on the first hook, and if I put my bag anywhere near it, then Emmabella gets upset that it's too close to Shaelyn's. But Lindsey's backpack is almost always on the end, so I can't hang it too close to there either. Sooooo..." he takes a deep breath, "it really is just easier to hang it right here in the middle and try to do a better job of keeping track of my things."
[what. the. hell.]
"Hunh," I mutter.
[He's only 7. He's only 7. He's only 7.]
But as I look at him stretch to reach that middle hook which is clearly the highest one, and the effort he has to put forth to hang up his backpack, unzip it from the top down, pull his stuff out, zip it back up, all while he's practically up on his tippy toes, and then I watch him remember (at least this time) to pull out both his bags and drop them into the bin, and then I see him turn away with a smile as he prepares to zip off to the playground perfectly oblivious, still and always Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky, the only thing I can really actually say to him (and honestly mean it) is, "You know what, baby? I think you might be right on this one."